Thursday October 3rd, Dan Fredricks (Land And Resource Engineering), Aaron Snell (Streamside Ecological Services), and Brady Harrington (MI Dep’t of Ag/Intercounty Drains) started at the far NW corner of the Cuddy Drain system and walked the entirety of it, IN the drain!! (They were also going to drive over and look at the Boot Lake Drain). The upstream parts are overgrown and there are roads that needed “portaging” – it was NOT an easy trek. When they arrived at 1st St, Greg Purcell and I joined them for the final wet hike to Patterson. Being with these guys (who are just super-nice anyway) let me see the Cuddy not just as a lovely little creek running past fields and forests – but almost as a living thing that has reacted to influences (both natural and human-caused) in different ways. Aaron helped me see that simply exposing the Cuddy to more sunlight to kill E-coli, can create other problems with “understory growth”. Dan had found old drawings of the original Sand Trap, which he said was very undersized – about 50 cu yds – to handle the volume of sediment the drain carries. They noted the deterioration of some of the culverts, simply due to old age; and how the culverts are “perched” (eroded banks and bottoms on the outlet side).
After we arrived at the Patterson Bridge, we spoke with Rich and Maxine Beukema for a while about the challenges of living at the outflow of the drain. Then we went to Greg’s house; hopped on his pontoon boat, and the guys got to see the residential Channel areas firsthand.
I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures – I’m a little hesitant to carry my good camera while hiking in a creek. I’m posting this just so people can understand that whatever Dan, Aaron, and Brady propose to alleviate the Cuddy’s problems as a part of the Patterson Bridge replacement, will come from first-hand knowledge of the Cuddy. And that’s a VERY good thing!