04 November 2014

Weed Removal from Happy Hollow Trail Barriers

A viny and rank growth of weeds on barriers along the Happy Hollow recreational trail on the east side of Memorial Park, was somewhat removed by staff of the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department at the end of October.

There were a some places where the crawly vines had completely covered the metal barriers, so city workers arrived to address the situation, following the end of the growing season. Much of the street-side vegetation was removed by the city of Omaha workers, with at least a primary portion of the metal barriers newly visible from the adjacent boulevard.

In some places the work was, however, done in quite a shabby manner. Numerous barren vines remained, sticking through the barriers in several places. Elsewhere, vines were not entirely removed as they could have been. After the city work, the creek side of the barriers still had numerous weedy growth still clinging to them. Some of the tree and shrub plantings put in places associated with creek channel changes, had many threads of vines threatening the free-growth of the foliage, which was paid for by Omaha residents.

Thankfully, some of the plants which sprouted and tried in their own manner along Happy Hollow Creek were not cleared. Especially the sunflowers, which are a nice bit of natural flora to enjoy, and which some birds also do appreciate.

Since the work done by paid employees was not complete, and thus not suitable, on Sunday afternoon, November 2nd, my volunteer effort for a part of the afternoon was to remove more of the weedy vines. Special attention was given to where the unwanted plants were threatening the preferred plantings. During the time at the scene, many people went past along the trail, and they were mostly clueless about what was going on. At least one neighborhood resident, with a unique awareness, did stop and chat for a minute or two, and expressed her appreciation and verbal thanks for what was being done.

Next time this sort of weed-pulling may occur, the gloves worn need to provide better coverage for the wrists, to avoid unnecessary skin damage from the abrasive plant stalks. The red lines and a bit of more expressive vivid wounds were because the weeds were pulled from among the late-season grass, from off the planted trees and shrubs, and away from the barricades structures. Sometimes the yanking was easy, other times there was assistance needed, and that was done with small clippers — as borrowed — and appropriately pulled from the pocket to snip one or many vines. There is no resultant pain but only time will heal the multiple abrasions.

My effort was to done improve the setting along Happy Hollow Creek, which very few people make an effort to do. There is no way that suitable attention and maintenance will be done by City of Omaha workers, despite many requests asking them to give the trail some attention, and in a timely manner.

A pile of removed debris was left by a sign along the trailway. What happens with it may be seen in coming days? There was no change in its extent on Monday, mid-morning, though it shrank a few inches in height due to plant drying.

The work needed along this trail is still no not done. More weeds need to be removed. More preferred plants need some attentive care. One obvious thing ... the work will certainly not be done by City of Omaha workers!

There is an obvious need for further volunteer efforts. For example, it would have been nice if the parks officials had coordinated with work with the Dundee - Memorial Park Neighborhood Association. Volunteers could have helped remove the unwanted vegetation, including some tree trimming/removal of trash trees along the creekway and perhaps some a park cleanup.

During this outing, some tree limbs here and there along the sidewalks of Underwood Avenue were also appropriately trimmed, to provide the legally required eight feet of clearance for someone traversing the pedestrian right-of-way, whether while walking or bicycling. The small pieces of branches were also languishing along the way on Monday, November 3rd.

Pile of weedy vines that were removed from a section of a barrier.