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TOPIC: Dead fall or tree removal.

Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28982

  • jjdebird
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What is your thought on removal of trees, logs, stumps, etc. that block the main flow of scienic rivers & streams. I have had fishermen say the log should be left as is to form habitats, even when pointing out the potential drowning hazards. I was also stopped by an abandonded gravel pit owner when clearing away a tree & stump that was a hazard for novice canoers. After almost an hour on the bank explaining he would have to allow boaters to walk around the hazard, along with the erosion it had already started, & that we would clear it out at no cost to him. Plus what could be his liabilities if he told us we could not remove it and someone did get hurt? He also did not want to be on the hook for our injuries, so he said "We could clear it out, but we did not have his permission."

So, should hazards be removed or left as is? And if a hazard is left in place, should it be marked by the "expert boater" who could see the real danger?

Knowing laws are very different, and many times it can come down to, "what is a navigable water way?". What is done in your area on your streams?

(According to the "Refuse Act of 1899, in the US, a navigable waterway is anything that will float a log at high water".)
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28983

  • cjcc
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It depends on the situation. If it is a few inches above the surface making the river not navigable and is in the middle of a rapid, especially when you can't see it until you're at the lip of the drop, I would say it is fine 90% of the time. The other 10% is when it affects the rapid, like the infamous log on Go Left and Die on the Green River Narrows, NC. It is one of the most critical parts of the rapid, and I personally don't see why it hasn't been removed, but lots of people would be outraged if it was removed. On the other hand, when I was on the section just above this a month ago, there was a log that left about a 5' gap on each side to get around. While it wasn't a big hazard, since it was in one of the pools, if you aren't paying attention you could easily hit it. The same goes with a tree that fell in the left line of a rapid on the same section, called "Pinball". If you run it blind (It is class III+ and worth scouting) you could go for the boof, then get tangled up in the log, which is on the small pool between the 2 parts of the rapid.

I don't think it makes much sense to leave logs in, since they don't really contribute anything, and completely agree with you. As far as the habitat standpoint, if the tree is on the surface is in the water, cut it at the trunk if possible since the rootstock could form a habitat for fish. I think that the tree making a habitat isn't a good reason though.
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28984

  • WilliH2O
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I've done a lot of woody debris removal making the
Shiawassee River State Heritage Water Trail in Michigan
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Landowners can be problematic, so often they need "education" and persuading.
If they don't budge - cut standing in the water, a public navigable waterway.
No one owns both banks and they don't own 100 % of the width.
Offering the cut tree to the landowner for firewood, crafts, etc., works on occasion.
Proper planning and it's usually over in 10 minutes, commando style...nuff said.
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Modifying the course, flow and direction of any creek, stream, river is bad.
State and federal agencies really, really frown on that sort of activity.
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As long as you don't clear cut everything along the riverbanks indiscriminately,
i.e. merely cutting a "slot" to along passage of canoe and kayak, very few agencies mind.
Major industrial machinery stirring up silt and sediment mess up the environment quickly.
We aren't allowed to use combustion engine driven winches, backhoes, tractors, etc.
Pure ol' muscle power, or some z-drag mechanical advantage is allowed for crazy stuff.
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When an entire tree of large diameter falls, we chainsaw cut it in pieces and use
"dead man" type anchors, sometimes called "duckbill type" anchors
to cable tie the logs into the riverbank.
www.earthanchor.com/duckinst.html

This allows a bit of fish habitat and stabilizes the riverbanks from erosion.
Use of extreme large saws with very long blades allows cutting into water
while the engine still has some air among all the spray and chips.
Extreme caution needed standing in current, on silt river bottom, running chainsaw !
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Woody Debris Management on rivers, creeks, streams
www.rochesterhills.org/city_services/upl...gement_Primer_v3.pdf
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Also handy on occasion is an "underwater chainsaw" no kidding, really.
www.ultimatesurvival.com/camping-hiking/SaberCutSaw.php
Video of its use
www.invodo.com/SaberCut-Saw/p/Z2CG1005

We attach ropes to the handles- thread it under the water, getting under the log-
and then proceed to manually saw the log freeing the obstruction.
It's a major pain in the ass doing stuff manually,
but it makes the river safer for novices and families in canoes.
Great for quickie cuts and it fits almost anywhere - my survival equipment :P
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ALL re-fueling and oiling of chainsaws to be done in canoe or on riverbank
- please no pretty rainbows of petroleum products in the waterways.
Be prepared to sharpen blades often, and a dropped chainsaw will hydro-lock
When water - a fairly incompressible liquid gets in the cylinder,
you can't pull the starter cord anymore - time to take it all apart, yuck :S
-

.
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28985

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Glad to hear others are clearing away hazards. I have often wondered what the formula looks like in the physics world when you are cutting a tree with weight, into a flowing river, plus bouancy. I traught a canoe rental owner up river to cut up his trees into shorter segments so they did not just recreate a new jamb on down. The biggest mess I kept comming to had been from the rail road lifting major debrie piles off of their bridge pier and setting it in the river on the down stream side. My coolest cut out was an easy tree at a 90 degree across the channel, no big deal but just as I started one of those families in a john boat with 4 inches above the water line floated around the bend. I sped up my cut, they tried to slow up, but hit the tree just as I cut it to swing open. I think the 6 of them were sharing a life jacket. After cutting things up to prevent more trouble, I headed on down river. I cut a few more out that day, wondering if they took out or walked it, never saw any sign of them. I also like looking at a small river I use to keep cleared, after moving no one continued much clearing, not even the canoe rental that came in. Today you can see where the river has cut well over into a farm field, changing the river's run in a big way. The spot was a log catcher when the river rose, leaving the trees their caused a big deflection. I would guess the land owner lost a good 20 acres, and now the river runs thru a tree less section. Eventually an oxbow will form and take out the homes 100 yards over.

I know what you mean by commando stlye cut / clear & paddle, it is much quicker. 4 of us use to tie 2 canoes together to create a very stable work platform (used a 5 hp motor for the pools), we could float into a jamb with 2 of us in front standing & cutting, plus paddle up from below and cut things up. The leaf limbs I think made some nice fish habitats when we hearded them into the right areas. We started doing the 2 canoe platform to clear a stream that was really plugged up. Our first day of 10 of cutting only made 3 miles of progress. I have had some great benefit moving stumps in the main flow by tieing the stump to a canoe with a long rope, submurging the canoe in the current & let it do all the work.

Obviously you leave as much in place as you can, with respect to what a solid mass will do at high water to the banks with the errosion it will cause when working in loose soil river channels.


Hear in Ohio the land owner owns the log that is on his land, when they understand the log is a dangerous stainer & drowning hazard, they will be glad to help some times. I once helped a farmer who had hooked a log chain on to a tree he saw as an errosion problem. He had a large 4 wheele tractor & planned on pulling it up and out. As he began to do it his way, the tree came up off the river bottom, caught the current and began to pull him and his tractor down stream. After he set it back down we cut it up into sections we could work with. He was glad to have us cut anything out along his property after that.
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28986

  • WilliH2O
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It may be beneficial to "play dumb" when asking about woody debris management
upon local streams and rivers with Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
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Casually mention your concerns and ask who, what, where, how, and when
efforts are organized in your area to take care of such things.
They may gladly supply the "duckbill anchors" as well as info on what they want done.
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Blue Infrastructure is the new catch phrase. Being Green is outdated already.
It refers to waterways and the fact everyone enjoys living near them for recreation.
If you can get city officials to recognize that a "tax base" exist next to nice waterways,
- they suddenly take interest in cleaning stuff up.
Nobody want to live next to tangled, strainer laden, dump of debris on the water.
When people leave, houses become shoddy and nasty, everyone looses.
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A pristine navigable waterway is sure to bring people from miles around.
They buy gas, they buy supplies,, they eat in restaurants-all good for the community.
Politicians like votes, and educating them about being Blue is the way to go.
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Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF)
Key Findings

* 17.8 million Americans ages 6 and older participated in
- kayaking, canoeing, and rafting in 2008.

* 9.9 million Americans participated in canoeing in 2008.

www.outdoorfoundation.org/research.participation.2009.html
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28987

  • WhiteWaterSlunk
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My views: If obstruction has water on all sides its game to be altered. The gray area that gets me, is the when a tree has fallen but is still connected to the bank by its roots and is in the only reasonable line through a rapid. I have feel that its well within my rights to remove it so long as I don't chop it on the bank. I've had quite a few landowners get in a tizzy bout me chopping up "their" tree due to it still being grounded by its root structure.
As I am standing in the river, I like to state something along the lines of "well if you were a good steward of your land, you would have plenty of time to remove "your" tree from "our" river now wouldn't you?

I feel that if a tree on your property that has fallen into a river its your responsibility to do something with it; chop it for fire wood or make furniture. But if you wait long enough for a river enthusiast to start doing something about it you have rescinded your right to reap that fruit...

As for tools. Chainsaws are for huge ops; I personally don't use them due to my worry about gas and oil spills plus they are loud as hell and can really mess you up.

I employ an Axe, Hatchet, survival saw(a chainsaw blade with handles), and on occasion a bow saw. All of these are light weight compared to a chainsaw and are much more stealthy in comparison. Although a chainsaw is fast you can easily get your self in a situation where you have bitten off more than you can chew. Using an Axe or saw is slower paced but its far more easy to hear the log breaking or some one signaling you.

What ever you use remember that you have a powerful friend: water. A five gallon bucket tied to an end of a log with a length of rope can be very useful after a few strategic cuts have been made
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28988

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You mentioned cabling debrie along the shore line, back in the 80's I think the name behind things was the palmetter method (?) at the time along with cost the question was what happens to the tangle of cable when the tree is gone? Any follow up on that since it has been around for 30 years now?
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 7 years 2 months ago #28992

  • WilliH2O
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Everything in moderation is essential to many things in life.
Nature is not inherently safe and paddlers can't make a river 100% perfect just for them.
Rivers are dynamic, complex habitats and should be managed accordingly.
As far as I know in 2010 woody debris techniques still recommend
putting the wood along river banks for macro-invertebrates and fish
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Direct measurement of the biological items in the water is an indicator of clean water.
Stream-bottom macroinvertebrates provide information about the quality
of a stream over long periods of time.
www.epa.gov/bioiweb1/html/benthosclean.html
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Attempt to leave as much natural stuff just where it fell.
A happy medium for an all-around win-win is the goal
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Re:Dead fall or tree removal. 1 year 3 months ago #35933

  • chrisflores
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Yes correct! Thanks for sharing the useful resource with us!
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