Best Management Practices for a
River Cleanup, as practiced by Headwaters Trails.
A river cleanup guide for kayak
and canoe accessability.
Best Practices - River Cleanup
These guidelines for best practices are those used by
Headwaters Trails when clearing debris and maintaining the Shiawassee River
Heritage Water Trail. They incorporate the Best Management Practices
prescribed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, MDNR.
They are intended to help people who have not been to an MDNR training
session understand what should be done when maintaining any river primarily
used with canoes, rowboats and kayaks. Many of the same principles
apply to rivers used in powerboat and ship traffic. Included are
practical suggestions with regard to personal safety and the maintenance of
equipment as well as techniques and understanding honed by experience.
We recommend that people read these before undertaking a river
cleanup on their own because bad practices can cause more harm than good. It
is our goal that the Shiawassee
River should continue
to be a model for Best Management Practices.
When clearing a river, as a guiding principle, you
should remove as few of the trees and branches in the river as necessary.
Woody debris provide food and shelter for fish, basking sites for
turtles and perching sites for birds, as well as protect the banks of the
river from erosion. Whenever possible, try not to disturb patches of
wild rice that grow in the shallow water areas. They provide food for
birds in particular, but also shelter for small fish and other aquadic
life. In general, you should only be cutting a path wide enough for
boats to pass, typically no wider than 10 feet. The goal of a river
cleanup is to make the river navigable and preserve the banks of the river,
but to not destroy fish and other wildlife habitat. In making the
river navigable, it is important to take logs and branches that are cut and
anchor them along the banks of the river, preferably, against a bank that the
current is cutting. The more you can protect the banks, the deeper
the river will cut to pass the water as opposed to widening and making the
river shallower. A general principle of aquatic engineering is that
the narrower the river, the deeper it will be. This bank protection
keeps the water deep enough for fish and by reducing the surface area,
keeps the water temperature down, something necessary for healthy fish.
It has the added benefit of keeping the river navigable in low water.
Logs floating down a river will naturally float to the outside banks
of curves in the river. Rather than clear these, they should be made
into places that you can stockpile the logs and branches in the
river. It is far better to accomplish this goal with natural materials
as opposed to putting in sheet piling, concrete sea walls or constructed
banks made from stones with fencing holding them in place. Studies of
trout streams, show that fish in general stay away from concrete.
Many streams are artificially maintained by cutting the trees and putting
in stone embankments. The removal of the trees warms the water and
allows the growth of weeds, something that is bad for the health of the
river and the critters that depend upon it as well as making it difficult
to paddle. Typically, if there is a drainage district and the local
Water Resources Management team has any say, they will destroy a river for
wildlife. It is best to try to keep prevent your streams from
becoming regulated by the Michigan Drain Code.
Under the law, the owner of the land adjoining the
river owns to the middle of the river unless the deed specifies
otherwise. The land owner on whose land sits the root ball of a tree
is the owner of that tree that has fallen in the river. You need his
permission to cut the tree. It is a good idea to get that in
writing. If he is not willing to give that permission, you can always
remind him that under common law, people using the river are allowed to
portage around those obstacles, even if that means going over his
land. He may want an opening cut in the tree to prevent people from
crossing his land. That portaging over the land is not considered
trespassing under the law. The vast majority of land owners are happy
to grant permission to cut their trees in the river and are supportive of
those efforts. Remember that the courts have said that although a
landowner may own the river bottom, he cannot prevent people from using the
river. That means that not only are boats allowed, but that walking
the river up to the normal high water mark is allowed.
The first step in creating a river stockpile, is
to choose the largest and longest logs available and anchor them to act as
a barrier in a river bend or the bank of the river where there is a place
to anchor it. This bow structure in a bend, with the bank as the bow
and the log as the string, provides places to put the smaller
branches. Often times you can create a place to put brush using a log
that is sticking across the river. Once you cut a passage way through
the log, you can tie logs behind it, making an impoundment. This can
be done by using cables to wrap around the logs and then anchor these to
trees along the banks or to anchors driven in the river. With big
logs, you may want more than one cable to secure the log firmly to the bank
or other logs. Once in place, you can tie other logs to this one and
then stack up smaller brush behind the large logs. Over time, the
logs will become waterlogged and sink to the bottom. This is desirable.
It prevents the current from cutting under them and attacking the
bank. As these sit on the bottom, sediment can build up behind them
and help build the bank back out and allow trees to grow. In some
cases, proper placement of logs with anchors can build sediment back under
tree root balls that are being undercut and will eventually fall in the
river if not protected. The rotting wood provides shelter for some
fish and hiding spots for others, as well as a source of food. As the
logs rot, the critters that eat the rotting logs are eaten by the fish.
Use 1 x 19 3/32 galvanized steel wire rope or
thicker. Single strand wire fatigues out much quicker than you will
want. This stranded 1 x 19 cable (McMaster-Carr 3498t62) has a 240
pound working strength and 1200 pound breaking strength, something that is
needed in flood stage and in the winter when ice flows back up against the
logs. 3/32 oval copper sleeves (McMaster Carr 3897t23) can be used to
form loops on the end of the cable. It is a good idea to have
different length cables available, such as 10 foot and 6 foot pieces.
The loops on the end allow you to loop cables together if not long
enough. Painting the cables with different colored spray paint, will
allow you to keep track of which are long and which are short. I
typically use yellow for 6' cables and no paint for 10' cables. When
tying a log, loop the cables around the log then push one end through the
loop on the end of the cable. This acts as a choker that holds for a
long time, even when the log starts to rot away.
galvanizing will let the cable last for many years before rusting
through. Do not use stainless steel or plastic coated cable because
you want the steel to eventually rust away but hold while in use. A
piece of stainless will become a hazard many years after the log has
completely disappeared. Plastic coated cables don't hold well.
The other end of the cable can be attached to a tree or an anchor in
the river. Duck Bill anchors or others of similar design, such as Star brand anchors, can be
hammered down into soft soil with a long rod, that have a cable attached to
them. These are useful where ever you want to place logs where there
are no trees to attach to. It is a good idea to use perforated steel
rigid straps to secure the cables to the logs and also to the nearest
trees. These are typically cut into strips with six holes per piece
(McMaster Carr 9600t51 strapping) for small logs. Double these up
because they tend to rust fairly quickly due to their thin design.
Use two pieces and position so that the nails go through two strips, to
make sure that the strap lasts for a reasonably long time and six nails
give you plenty of bite into the wood. Use spiral shank nails, they
don't pull out as easily as smooth nails. Keep a selection of from
5" to 10" long nails. If the log is partly rotted, use the
longer nails and straps with larger holes. The nails and straps
will eventually rust away. Bending over nails instead of using straps
doesn't work very well. The bent nails frequently break in the bend
due to the hardening of the nail and it takes very little rotting of the
wood to release the cable. With large spikes, strapping with larger
holes works best. It is difficult to drive the spikes through the
straps with small holes.
Long term protection of the river requires more
than just removing log jams and pulling out debris. If possible, you
want to work with land owners to allow you to plant trees along the banks
of the river. Lawns with trees along the banks of the river are
stable. Lawns without trees produce unstable banks that erode easily.
These need to be water tolerant trees, such as willow and cedar.
They should be trees that are not having problems with fungi and
insects, such as elm or ash trees. Whenever possible, plant native
trees, not invasives like autumn olive or buckthorn. Various wetland
bushes grow quickly and make good companion plantings. The roots will
stabilize the soil and slow erosion. The roots pull some of the
excess nutrients from the water that cause excessive weed growth. The
shade from these trees, will help keep the water cool and shade out aquatic
weed growth. Often, it is necessary to put posts and fences around
these trees till they get to around 10 feet tall to keep the deer from
eating them in the winter. Still, after they have grown, in some
areas, the deer and rabbits will eat the bark off the trees in the winter,
killing the trees. There are methods of protecting the trees from
deer, such as wrapping the trunks and spraying the trees with any number of
compounds, like soapy water, to keep the deer from eating them, but most of
these wash off and need to be reapplied frequently. Some people claim
that you can leave bags tied to the branches of trees with rotting meat in
them to keep the deer away. It may work, but it does leave an
unpleasant smell along the river you are trying to enjoy. The tried
and true method involves 6 foot high fencing strung around three seven foot
"T" posts with the tree in the center. In some cases you
can protect the trees by planting black berries and other bushes that have
thorns, though you want to make sure that those you plant are natives and
not invasive plants like autumn olive. You can always just plant
trees in areas that have lost trees due to disease or wind storms by
cutting some willow branches and sticking them into wet soil. This
works best in the spring. Willow will sprout
a tree from a fresh stick, as anyone who has put pussy willows in water
will have experienced. These trees are adapted to live in water
Typically, where you see long stretches of river with
cut lawns lacking trees, that go up to the river, you will see erosion that
has widened and shallowed the river. Judicious anchoring of logs and
placement of rocks can help reverse that trend. In some streams,
people advocate making barriers along the edges, out of straw bales held
down by stakes. In high water, mud gets deposited above the bales,
keeping it out of the main channel. Ideally, you can establish cat
tails, wild rice, and other native wetland plants to keep the sediment out
of the river long after the straw has rotted away. These native
plants not only hold the sediments back, they provide food for birds and
When dealing with rocks in the river, it is a bad
idea to remove them from the river. Rocks make ideal bank protection,
but are also necessary for the growth of many beneficial insects, such as
dragon flies, and provide places for fish to lay eggs and seek protection
from the current. A healthy stream is one that has clean gravel on
It is generally a good idea to protect beaver dams
where possible. These animals hold back the water for long
distances, keeping the river deep enough to paddle. These
impoundments regulate the water flow in that they hold back water from high
flow periods so that in dry weather, there is water for the river to draw
upon. This water is not only held in the wetlands created by the
beaver's flooding, the higher water recharges the permeable soils around
the wetlands. When water levels drop, water stored in the soil
surrounding the wetland then slowly flows back into the river, maintaining
a constant and more uniform flow. That water held in the soil tends
to be cooler than water in the wetlands and helps keep the water
temperature down. The dams that the beavers create, catch debris that
then rots in place. In general, it is far easier to cross a beaver
dam than a log jam. Beavers often get a bad rap when these dams
collapse and cause flooding. More often than not, beaver dams
collapse when humans do something to destroy these dams because they do not
want their property flooded. It is not faulty engineering on the part
of the beavers. Public education is needed to keep people from
destroying the dams and trapping the beavers. Any good fisherman
knows that the best place in a river to fish is near the beaver dams and
Beavers do cut down trees. They need these for
their dams and to eat. Where ever possible, replant trees not only
right next to the banks of the river but also in the upland. Beavers
especially like to eat trees such as aspen and poplar which are only medium
hard wood trees.
Generally, when hand saws and clippers are no longer sufficient to
cut logs, it is a good idea to use a chain saw. When chain sawing in
the river, one of the problems is that if the tree breaks or moves in the
wrong direction it can pinch your saw. To prevent this from
happening, plastic chainsaw wedges work well. Do not use metal
wedges. These can be dangerous if the saw hits them and they most
assuredly will dull the saw blade. Make the cut deep enough to have
the saw and the wedge in the slot, then stop cutting and pound the wedge
in. When you restart, you are significantly less likely to pinch the
saw. When the log drops, the wedges typically fall into the
water. Never try to grab a wedge before it falls in or while the saw
is running. That is a good way to lose fingers. In shallow
water, they may not be hard to find, but more often than not, the water is
deep enough that the wedges can be lost. Drilling a small hole in the
side of the wedge near the top and then gluing in a piece of fishing line
gives you something to help you find that wedge again. Putting a
bobber on the opposite end of the line means that the wedge, line and
bobber can fall in the river and yet be easy to find afterward. It is
usually a good idea to carry at least two chain saws with spare chains
available. No matter how hard you try and how thoroughly you plan,
you will find that you will occasionally still get a saw stuck in a
log. A second saw gives you the option of cutting the saw back out of
the wood. Otherwise, you may end up leaving the bar and chain stuck
in a log somewhere.
When using a chainsaw in the river, you always want to
cut wood above the waterline if possible. Often times it is not
possible. In that case, you need to consider that a chainsaw needs
much more power to cut in water than in air. This is for two
reasons. The water itself consumes energy as the blade paddles
through it, and the bar stops getting oil once it is in the water because
of the way saws put oil on the chains. Water is a poor lubricant.
You will see your chains and bars wear quickly when used in the
water. Once you pull the blade out of the water, it is a good idea to
let the blade free spin for 10 seconds or more to get oil back on the blade
and in the groove of the bar. Failing to do this can result in excess
rust that will again reduce the life of the bar and chain. If your
bar has places to inject grease, you should do this frequently. The
grease does not wash out of the bar anywhere near as easily as does the
A general pointer on chainsaws.
Always use the highest octane gas you can get and make sure that
the gas is fresh and that you have stored it in a container that does
not have an open top. A metal "Type I" or higher can is a good
option. The reason for the closed top is that gas loses octane as
it evaporates. The reason for the high octane is so that
the engine will not backfire and spin backwards, pulling the cord out
of your hand as you try to start it. This can and has caused
sprained and bruised fingers, with the potential for breakage of
fingers and damage to the saw. It happens because low octane gas
ignites prematurely, before the piston passes top dead center.
High octane gas is by definition, gasoline that is
resistant to pre-ignition. Most chainsaws currently made require
high octane gas. Preventing pre-ignition stops knocking that can
burn a hole in your piston as an added benefit. If your saw has
been sitting for a long time with gas in it, that gas will have lost
some octane and can be a problem. It is best to run a saw dry
before storing it, Alternatively, Briggs and Stratton makes a
product called Advanced Formula Fuel Treatment, that will keep the gas
fresh for a year or more (they claim 3 years), which has been stored in
a sealed container. In theory, this new formulation works with
the newer fuel being sold that has ethanol added to it, better than
older formulations like Stabil(tm). In theory, it prevents
corrosion that ethanol can cause. A type 1 or higher DOT
container for fuel or a plastic can with a self closing valve, also
helps prevent accidental spill of fuel in the river, should you capsize
your boat. I like to use the synthetic 2-cycle oil sold by Stihl.
Chainsaws in water work much harder than ones on land. The
wet wood his harder to cut. The water uses extra horsepower just
to run in, and the water washes away your bar lube. All of this
means that if you cut corners and don't use the best fuel and 2 cycle
oil, you will risk causing premature failure of your saw.
Cutting logs in deep water is something of a special skill. It
may mean that you need to cut from a boat. In that instance, be sure
that the boat you are in is either big enough that it is stable with you
cutting off the side or you have another boat tied to it for stability.
You always want the boat held firmly in position, with anchors, a
person holding it, or ropes from the shore. Flipping a boat with a
running chainsaw can be extremely dangerous.
Always carry a loggers first aid kit when using a saw and check it
before you go out to make sure that it is fully stocked and that none of
the bandages have been gotten wet. Most first aid kits are only
slightly water resistant. Keep them in a dry bag or other container
when on the water. Always wear safety glasses, ear plugs and gloves
when using a chain saw. Gloves are especially necessary if you
attempt to change a chain while your hands are wet. The water softens
them so that they are easily cut and sharp chains do that well. You
should always work in at least pairs, so that if one is hurt, the other can
help and call for help. You should always carry a cell phone in a
waterproof container with you in case you need emergency help. Always
be aware of the people around you when using a chain saw. You don't
want to accidentally cut them with the saw nor drop something on them with
it. Chain saw manufacturers like Stihl, have safety videos that you
can request. It is a good idea to have anyone using a chainsaw review
these safety videos before going out with a chainsaw.
you are standing on a log with a running saw and you start to fall into
the river, there may not be time to shut off the saw. Whatever
you do, toss it a safe distance from you. When possible, turn it
off first. You do not want to fall onto a chainsaw blade, running
or not. It is better to risk damaging the saw than risk losing a
limb or getting a severe cut that requires stitches. Make sure
that the people around you give you room to toss the saw before you get
into trouble. Practice shutting off the saw with your thumb, so
that you can quickly shut it off if needed. A bar break
requires two hands to trip it. I would rather have my saw off
than running with the bar locked.
If you should accidentally submerge your saw, you need
to pull the spark plug immediately, dry it with a lighter if you have one
and if not just blow on the tip to dry it off and wipe the outside with
something dry. Pull the cord on the saw a few times to flush out the
water, and reassemble. After this, start the saw again
immediately. Failure to do this can ruin a saw because the water will
get in the piston rings and in the bearings, allowing rust to form.
Dunking a hard running saw into the water such that water gets into the
intake, will usually destroy the piston and crank
It is a good idea to carry trash bags for the small trash.
Canoes and rowboats are handy for the larger items, like tires and other
big trash. When paddling, you can use trash grabbers to get at small
trash, like plastic bottles in the weeds and bushes along the
We use Lansing Forge aluminum tie tongs for
moving submerged logs
Please note that their website often will give you an error message,
saying that it cannot find the product. Use their search engine to
look for LA104). Tie tongs are designed for moving railroad ties,
but they work well on logs. They are especially nice when the log is
in water deeper than waist deep and you need to grab hold of it.
Bending down without tie tongs will probably mean that you stick your
face in the water. That can easily result in you losing your glasses.
The tie tongs also prevent you from having to bend a lot to pick up
logs, helping prevent back injuries. Lansing Forge Tie Tongs help
when the logs are slippery and can handle two people pulling on them.
They are able to lift 1800 pounds without bending or twisting.
Other brands of aluminum and steel tongs exist. These are the
ones we use.
What to wear:
Long shirts and long pants help keep you from getting poison ivy or
scratches from the brush and logs you move. The best ones to wear are
ones that do not hold water. Most synthetics will drain quickly once
you get out of the water. Wool holds water but also retains heat, so
although it will get heavy, it will still keep you warm. Cotton does
not drain easily and can cool you down dramatically. Gloves are
important when you may be lifting something unseen that you may find under
the water or something that may have sharp edges or nails. Tetanus is
a real concern if you get cut in the water. Likewise, sturdy boots or
shoes that will not easily pull off are a good idea. It is not
uncommon to step in soft mud that really holds onto your shoes. You
may step on something sharp in the water like glass from a bottle or an old
board with a nail sticking up. If you are not a strong swimmer, you
should wear a life vest all the time.
What to bring:
If you have one, you should carry a cell phone in
a watertight container along with a map of the river. It may be
needed if you have to try to tell a rescuer where you are at.
Always carry a first aid kit in the river. It should be in a
water tight container. Most first aid kits are water resistant, but
not water tight. It is best to store them in a plastic or other
watertight holder to assure that you do not ruin them by getting the
sterile supplies wet. If chainsawing, you should consider buying a
Loggers First Aid Kit. This has supplies for more serious injuries
that you may have when chain sawing. The ones we use are from Forestry Suppliers. Always open your first aid
kit and inspect it before going out on the river. Check that it has
not gotten wet and that you have all the supplies needed. Wear glasses when
working with a saw. Ear plugs are a good idea. Stihl makes
chainsaw chaps that can help prevent you from hitting your leg with a saw,
though they are not very practical in deep water.
When working in the river, good planning is
important. That includes planning for the weather and other hazards
along the way. Although it is safe to work while it is raining, it is
not safe to work when there is lightning or even a threat of
lightning. At the first sign of lightning, get out of the water and
seek cover. On cold days, make sure you have towels in plastic bags
to dry off with. Plastic space blankets can prevent hypothermia if
the weather cools down or if it just is cooler than you anticipated.
Energy bars, granola bars or even candy bars of any sort will help you warm
back up again and restore your energy. It is a good idea to wear
clothing that will not absorb water, so that you will not cool down while
you are waiting to dry off. You should always carry water with you in
bottles so that you can rehydrate. Working hard in the water can
easily lead to dehydration. If you are allergic to poison ivy, stay
away from it, but also put on ivy block. When out of the water, if
you have been exposed, use something like Technu or Fels Naptha oil soap to
thoroughly clean your skin. Don't take chances, you may regret
it. You may want to take sun block and mosquito repellent. Hats
keep bugs out of your hair and shade your eyes from the bright sun.
Never go out on the river to do a cleanup late in the evening when
you are not already pretty sure what you will encounter. Once the sun
goes down, it gets cold in a hurry. Hypothermia can kill. Know
the signs of it. Be prepared to deal with it in cooler weather.
Never use a chain saw after dark. They are too dangerous to
take chances with.
Always practice shutting a saw off before using it in
the river. If you lose your balance or get stuck in the mud, you want
to be able to quickly shut off the saw so that you don't cut yourself or
others trying to help you. When carrying a saw, you should have the
blade covered in a scabbard when the saw is not in use. These blades
are sharp and can really injure you or someone with you if fallen upon or
if they get pushed up against someone. If you cut yourself anything
more than a scratch, with a chainsaw, go to the hospital. The teeth
can drive debris under your skin and generally stitches will help it heal.
When working on the river, you should always let someone
know when to expect you back and where you are going. If you do not
arrive on time, they know where to send someone looking. Never work
in the water by yourself, especially if using a chainsaw. If you
injure yourself with a saw, you need someone that can give you first aid and
get you out of there or call for help. When working in the water, it
is a bad idea to try to move all of the logs by yourself. If one
starts to get away, it could push you under if you are in front of it.
If the bottom is soft, it may be difficult to get back up to the
surface. A buddy working with you can help. By yourself, you
might drown. I have found that sometimes when walking in the river, I
hit deep soft mud that freezes my feet in place. With a buddy around,
I can hand him my saw before I try to extricate myself. The swifter
the water, the more you and your buddy need to stay together. In some
conditions, you may want a safety line and a safety belt or harness.
A buddy can watch for signs of hypothermia in you and you him, in
cooler weather. Not all rivers are warm and even normally warm ones
are still cold in the spring.
Know your limits and those of your buddy or buddies. The conditions
greatly affect your safety. The deeper and faster the water, the more
dangerous and the more you need to watch out for others. Keep in mind
that shorter people are more likely to get swept off their feet or get in
over their heads than are taller people.
Use Caution clearing log jams:
Always be careful when
clearing log jams. If the current is swift, you might get sucked
under. A life vest may not help then. Good swimmer or not, that
can get you caught where you may drown. In fast water, use a safety
line or stay out of the river till it slows down.
Log jams catch the floating debris that comes down the river. That
means that that there may be boards or logs with nails stick out.
Glass bottles and metal cans present a risk of cutting yourself if
you are not paying attention.
Log jams are places that attract animals. You may encounter a snake
in the log jam. The best way of preventing yourself from getting
bitten is to see the snake first. He will usually move else where
with only a little prodding. Be prepared to encounter very large
spiders in log jams. They can give a painful bite but mostly are more
afraid of you than you of them. Mostly, you don't want to panic after
seeing one and become a hazard to yourself and others. Again, being
aware is the best defense. When possible, use tongs for reaching into
Native Plants vs. Invasive Plants:
Native plants are necessary in the environment to keep eco systems
healthy. The butterflies, birds, turtles and other animals in the
environment rely upon natives for food and shelter. Non-natives have
a tendency to take over habitat because as non-natives, in many cases, the
bark and leaves of non-natives are poisonous to native animals.
Typically, the fruits are not, allowing the seeds to easily be
spread. When a plant, such as autumn olive, has bark that is
poisonous and leaves that are poisonous, you will find no insects, bacteria
nor fungus growing on them. Chemicals that the autumn olive trees put
in the ground often kill off other plants around them. This gives
them a huge advantage over natives that are eaten by lots of things.
This will often then result in whole fields being taken over by
non-natives, crowding out the native plants and starving out the native
animals that otherwise would be feeding on the natives. Non-natives
are displacing things like native cattails, lupines, blackeyed susans and
other plants that we just take for granted are going to grow by themselves
in the wild. Many formerly common animals are becoming rare because
of loss of habitat. In some cases due to invasives and in others due to
human activities. Learn to identify many common invasives at North
Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy's site:
http://www.nohlc.org/invasives.html or at many others on the web.
Search for "Invasive plants".
There will often be a mix of native plants as well as invasive plants along
the river. Whenever possible, get permission from the landowner to
remove invasives along the river. On the river, the most common
invasive trees are Autumn Olive, Buckthorn, and Honeysuckle. There
are other plants, like garlic mustard, and others, that are not trees and
are much harder to kill out. Typically, invasive trees will grow
right back up if you don't put herbicide on the cut stump. If you
purchase herbicide, make sure that it is one that is approved for use in
wetlands. It is a good idea to add a product like Cide-kick (tm) to
the herbicide. This acts as a wetting agent. Many of the
invasives produce a waxy substance that causes the herbicide to roll off,
if Cide-kick is not added to the herbicide. Even then, Autumn Olive
will seal off the cut within 10 minutes of cutting, so timely application
of herbicide is important. I like to add a dye, such as ACMI violet
dye to the herbicide so that I can see easily where I have applied the
herbicide. Remember that only the outside of a tree is alive.
The wood in the center is dead, so if you cut an autumn olive and
then put a couple drops of herbicide in the center of the tree, chances are
that you will not kill it and it will grow back immediately. I like
to use a 250 ml dropper bottle to apply herbicide. It gives you
pinpoint control over where you put the herbicide. Remember that you
only want to kill the invasive plant and none of the others around it.
As a general rule, I put one drop of herbicide every 1/2 inch along
the circumference of the cut. That is usually enough to kill the
invasive without killing anything else. Check your own property for
invasives and remove them when possible.
Non-tree plants, like garlic mustard, phragmites, swallow-wort, and others
are much more difficult to deal with. If you own property with these,
visit a site like http://www.nohlc.org/invasives.html, to learn to identify
them and how to treat them. If they are growing on your property, at
some time, some of those seeds will make it to the river and its wetlands.
Some things like garlic mustard and swallow-wort are best dealt with
by pulling them up, bagging them and disposing of them in a landfill.
Out of State:
we do not have dangerous fish in the water. If you work in places
like Pennsylvania, Louisiana or anywhere near the ocean,
there is always the possibility that sharks can come in with the tide
or there may be alligators. Those are special conditions that are not
Clinton River Watershed Council's Field Manual on Maintenance of Large Woody Debris
The Link below is to fact sheets that discuss some of these same
issues but in a format that can be printed as a handout. Not all
of the techniques used in the Clinton River Watershed Council's
Field Manual are endorsed by Headwaters Trails, as best management
practices along the Shiawassee River. In particular, they remove
more wood from the river than we believe is justified. That being
said, they otherwise hit many of the important issues in debris
management. It is best if you work with the DNR to make sure what
you plan to do meets with their approval. Not all streams should
be opened for paddling. That process changes the ecology of the
river and may endanger species within the river or stream.