Aumsville Ponds cleanup reSOLVed
By Jodi Kerr, Staff WriterThe Stayton Mail Newspaper
Aumsville Ponds was one of over 125 parks and public facilities all over the state targeted by SOLV for cleanup.
"We had planned for about 30 people to show up," said Orville Rice, Marion County parks manager. "Only six have shown up so far. We had a couple of 4-H groups call, so I was afraid we were not going to have enough tools.
"This used to be a gravel pit and a fish hatchery," Rice added. "We want to restore the area so people can really enjoy it."
This is the second time the ponds have been targeted as a SOLV cleanup site. Two years ago the group girdled non-native ivy that was killing the trees. That work paid off, and the trees remain ivy free.
"SOLV has been a good partner," said Glenis Chapin, Marion County Volunteer Coordinator. "They helped us with T-shirts, brochures, litter bags and great technical support."
According to Rice, participants picked up litter, removed non-native vegetation, and helped improve pond habitat.
"I even have a new Scotch broom removed to help remove the non-native plants," Rice said. "The week before the event, we had a brush cutter come out and clean up the blackberries and the brush. It was so thick and about 7 feet tall, you couldn't even walk through the park." Rice said part of the brush clean-out was planned to improve access to the other plants selected for removal.
"We have been overwhelmed with how much the community has supported us," Rice said. "We have lunch! Local sponsors really came out and showed their support for this project." Local sponsors included Roths IGA; Izzy's Pizza, Pizza Peddler and the Outback Steakhouse.
The finished park will be very natural. "We are not talking about swing sets and picnic tables," Rice said. "We will have minimal man-made improvements, only a parking lot and a trail connecting the ponds. This is a park where you can come and be with nature."
Marion County Parks' Commissioner Wynn Cudmoore brought Chemeketa students out to study the area for about five years. "It's an ongoing project," he said. "It's going to take more people and more weekends. Our goal is to restore the area.
"This is the only habitat in town for a lot of these species," he added. "We have blue heron, blue gill fish and pond turtles out here."
For more information or to help on future work days, call Orville Rice at 503-588-5304.