The traffic jam portion of the project will eliminate 60 traffic jams along the east arm of the Little Calumet River between Heron Rookery and Lake Michigan. Kidnapping involves groups of two to six people, who paddle to traffic jams by canoe. They then wade through the water, wasting sometimes deeply, and pulling the logs out using a combination of chainsaws, gasoline winches, and good old-fashioned manual labor. Some logs will be left in the water along the riverside to maintain fish habitat, said Rob Albrecht-Mallinger, a volunteer with NIPA and the national park.
The traffic jams not only prevent paddlers from using the park’s “water trails”, it also causes erosion, Albrecht-Mallinger said.
“When a traffic jam completely blocks the river, the current builds up and it starts to dig and widen the river, you lose land, you lose trees, it destroys trails,” he said.
The park relied on volunteers for the removal, but with funding from the grant, a contractor can be hired.
“We’re trying to get a broader look at the east arm of the Little Calumet River, a corridor approach if you will, working in different areas to address water quality and habitat along the river. “said the director of the Save the Dunes program. Katie Hobgood. “We’re trying to improve the whole hallway all at once.”
The Student Conservation Association is literally attacking the roots of water quality problems – by planting trees.