I know you are all hanging on the edge of your seats waiting for the "next post" that was supposed to talk about our backyard swimming pool, but I wanted to get these pics up while my back and arms are still sore from cutting forests of Russian olive trees.
Wednesday and Thursday Drew was foreman at the house while I made a quick trip to the West Desert to do some maintenance on the surface water monitoring sites. Two of our sites were still not reporting because the radio signals from them were not arriving at the repeater station. This trip was to see if we could make some upgrades to the equipment and cut some trees to clear a line-of-site from the monitoring stations to the repeater station. It was my first time using a chain saw, and I will admit that the power trip was pretty fun.
The pile of trees and branches in the picture above represents about one sixth of the amount of trees we (my co-worker Aaron and I) removed. I didn't count them, but I'm sure we must have cut at least 6 mature 30-foot trees and 20 or so 10- to 15- footers.
Russian olives are an exotic, invasive, and some say noxious weed in Utah. Not only are these trees in the way of my radio signals, they are huge water wasters. Estimates show that each tree can use about 150 gallons of water during the summer, and in just the Bishop Springs area alone, I would estimate there are thousands of trees that have become established in the last 25 years or so. In the struggle to protect precious water resources, it is my opinion that the Russian olives are getting the upper hand.
Anyway, we were successful in clearing a path for one of the stations, but another is still having issues.
The other big job was plugging a leak in the dam at one of our sites. Since installation last fall, a small leak has grown larger to the point where it was eroding our dam. We hand-dug a trench and filled it with bentonite clay chips. Hopefully this will stop the leak.