St. Clair News Aegis (Pell City, AL)

News

March 8, 2011

Wetlands boardwalk proposed

Pell City — The Logan Martin Lake Protection Association is laying the groundwork for a wetlands boardwalk for recreation and educational uses.

Mike Riley with the LMLPA said the quality of life for the lake is not just about keeping the lake clean, but about the value of preserving natural habitats.

The plan is to install a 70-foot walkway out into a natural wetlands area that sits towards the entrance of Lakeside Park in Pell City.

Permits and architectural prep work have been submitted recently as well as the layout for the boardwalk and the surrounding area.

A 360-degree view of the wetlands will be offered form the 12-foot platform at the end of the platform, which will be handicapped accessible.

“One of the most difficult things will be to construct the platform so as not to destroy the wetlands, so we will use handheld equipment and possibly small Bobcat (tractors),” Riley said.

For waterfowl, duck boxes and nesting platforms will be constructed near the site. Ospreys which normally nest in that area will be provided platforms on raised poles to allow them to build their homes.

Alabama Power, which controls lake levels, recommended the osprey platforms be relocated to an area away from the existing beaver dam. The beaver dams are removed on regular basis by demolition and they did not want to disturb the ospreys. The pilings will be installed by hand and will be of material that are not appealing to the beavers.

The material used on the walkway will be a composite that will last longer than conventional wood walkways. Riley said the material can last 30 years.

He said the material will be heavier than water, so if lake levels rise, the boardwalk will remain intact.

One of the educational outreaches the LMLPA plans for the site is the listing of the names of indigenous plants on both the boardwalk and attached to the plants themselves. That way visitors will not have to read a sign on the railing of the boardwalk and then hunt to find vegetation that might be dormant, depending on the time of year.

The project is expected to cost $25,000 in total with additional costs for the signage.

“This is for all of us,” Riley said. “This is going to be shared by everybody on the lake.”

Isabella Trussell, who is in charge of the water quality testing for LMLPA, spearheaded the project along with retired Southern Company engineer Dick Franke.

Franke designed the boardwalk and Riley said he was instrumental in getting the correct paperwork for submission by the city of Pell City.

Construction is expected to begin late next year when the lake levels lower for the winter months. For more information or to join go to the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association website at www.lmlpa.org.

 

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