Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting the BIG Picture

Bill Woodall of Chumuckla
One of the best ways to get a view of the problem is to look at it from above. Sometimes we have had the good fortune to fly with a retired Army sergeant in his private plane to look over the rivers. Bill Woodall of Chumuckla enjoys his plane and knows the area very well. So flying for pictures can be a rewarding  and educational experience.  Sometimes it is a surprise at just how radical the bends in the river can be. All this is the result of thousands of years of river blockages like log jams, that force the river to find an new path.  Look at the heavily studied soil charts of a section of the Mississippi River here.  It is amazing how much the river changes over time.  There are such maps of our local rivers, like the Escambia and Peridido and Alabama Rivers. Just flying over the rivers and obsrerving the changes in vegetation for miles either side will give a good idea of how much movement the rivers have in their seemingly mundane lives.

Master Dead Head Logger

Not many people can claim title to Master Dead Head Logger. LD Henderson, founder of Southern River Loggers is one such person. Deadheads are submerged logs, usually cypress or heart pine or other heavy timber that sank to the bottom years ago and was never recovered. Reclaiming such timber requires a sensitivity to the environment and a careful approach to removal so water and habitat are not overly disturbed. Light weight timber like Juniper is what is normally seen afloat and in the large Southern River log jams. These trees can be valuable because of their resistance to rot, having closed cell structure similar to balsa wood. But, in a river, they clog the stream and force the river to seek new passages. Over the eons of time, such log jams come and go as enormous river blockages.
This is one of the MAIN reasons oxbow lakes and sharp meandering curves in slow moving rivers become so prevalent. An overhead view of some rivers will show this phenomenon in stark detail. Mr. Henderson is himself a natural resource for those learning about the hydrology of rivers, the seasonal water-flows, the watershed capacity, the botany and the zoology of the habitat. A number of young environmental department workers have learned from his observations. Rivers and forests are complicated systems that cannot fully be appreciated from just reading about it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The work is almost ready to start

Southern River Loggers preparing to make a start on takeout sites on the Perdido River in conjunction with Alabama's FOREVER WILD project. With the river clear of log jams and the wood responsibly recovered from the river and banks, the canoe and walking trails along the river will bring nature to thousands. . FInd more from this ALBUM HERE.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tools of The Trade - THE SAW Blades

 In the timber business it is helpful to have a very strong affection for the saw blades.  It is the heart of the efficient operation.  The blades will be made for a particular brand and model of saw. They have to fit perfectly. Saw makers keep specific files on individual pieces of machinery for decades so blades can be made to specifications at any time. Each double coil of blades shown here will "unfold" to a much wider oval that can reach across a log. After a number of hours cutting, the blades must be resharpened. Often, blades are sharpened, tensioned and balanced to assure the very best possible cutting efficiency. It turns out, saw sharpening is both science and art.  Mr. Ray Griffin, near Jack's Branch in Molino is one of those who can make a saw "sing".


LD Henderson and Ray Griffin