Lower Lake’s Restoration, Part 3

October, 2012

On October 26, I used photos to measure approximate tree heights for the trees on the dam that Kodiak would need to remove.  Bramhall had already marked each tree that needed to be removed from the dam with the fluorescent bright pink spray spot, and had provided trunk diameter measurements, so the heights of the trees, some over 60 foot needed to be known for planning the equipment needed for their work.

November, 2012, Lot 10 Tree Felling on the Dam

November 2nd, Kodiak submitted a proposal to cut the trees on the dam.   Since there were two types of tree removal done, it was broken down to the number of trees that each property owner had on the dam, as well as the work to be done for each property owner.  While the Lot 9 owners wanted the trees removed and the limbs chipped are all removed from the site, I only asked Kodiak to remove the large trunks of the trees, but I would load the limbs in the Kawasaki Mule and carry the limbs up to the burn pile behind the garage and burn them.  Since the owners of Lot 9 did not want to proceed with the removal as quickly as I did, Kodiak agreed to begin felling the trees as soon as the Medina County Engineers approved the permit for the work to be done within the West River Road right of way.

Matrix provided a preliminary set of dam restoration plans to Medina County engineer Dan Willhoite for the permit approval.  Though the final set of construction plans had not been approved by the County, they wanted the trees removed as soon as possible.  They also were pleased that the lake level was already down to the 1960 level.

November 13th, with the Road Use permit approved, Kodiak began removing trees, leaving the trunks in place per the instructions from Medina County to leave the trunks and roots in place until the actual dam restoration was begun.  Below are some photos of the tree removal on the Lot 10 portion of the dam.  This photo was taken from the picture window of the Lot 10 home on November 14th.  I had been gathering the cut limbs from the already felled trees and had taken them to the burn pile with my Kawasaki Mule piled high with limbs.

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November 16, Kodiak, a helper, also named Tom and another helper whose name I can't recall continued to fell trees.  This tree in particular had the telephone lines to the Lot 10 home running through it to cross the lake to another pole, then underground to the home.  Raised in the bucket of the mini backhoe, Tom had to carefully cut away limbs from the telephone lines, drop them onto the bank where I would gather them in my Mule and drive them to the growing burn pile behind the garage.

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The telephone lines cleared, the helper applied pressure with the mini backhoe to make sure that the tree didn't fall into the utility lines, while the other helper, Tom, made the cut.

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The pine is down and the limbs are about to be cut off.

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When Kodiak has a truckload of cleared trunks cut to length, they are loaded into the dump truck to be carried to a handicapped person they know who uses them for winter heat.

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Kodiak continued down the road, filling the dump truck with the large trunks.  They stacked smaller trimmed limbs against the guardrail so I could load them onto the Mule for another of my many trips up to the Lot 10 burn area.  Note the brick home in the distance.  That is the Lot 9 home.

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With the branches of this pine intertwined with the branches of a taller pine next to it, Kodiak removed the shorter tree first to prevent it from hindering the fell of the taller neighbor. 

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With this neighbor pine down, it would be moved to the face of the dam to be trimmed of limbs and cut to lengths for the dump truck.

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This pine tree was over 50 foot tall and was leaning toward the utility lines.  The mini backhoe provided the pressure to insure it fell into the lake.  Note the Mule with a load of limbs in the foreground.  The Kawasaki Mule has been an invaluable tool in my work kit, especially when I have loads of limbs to take to the burn pile.  I worked behind the Kodiak crew to make sure I wasn't in their way, but tried to move limbs out from their next work area so they wouldn't have limbs underfoot to trip them.

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The 50+ foot pine is safely down, ready to be moved to the dam face and carved up to its fate.  Kodiak workers work quickly, with consideration of their surroundings and safely which I appreciate very much and why I prefer to hire them for the heavier, more dangerous work.  The come with the right crew and equipment for the job to be done.

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While I was behind the garage unloading the Mule, Kodiak had felled the 55+ foot tulip tree and had moved on to two more on their way to my property line by the utility pole.  Note the growing stack of pine limbs on the face of the dam.  Looks like a long afternoon and evening ahead for me.

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Kodiak Completed the Tree Felling on the Dam on November 16, 2012

This November 16, 2012 panorama was taken of the lower lake dam on which Kodiak had just completed felling the Lot 10 trees.  This was taken from the front of the Lot 10 home looking to the east.

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End of Work on the Dam for Lot 10, October 22nd, 2012

I have picked up all of the limbs and small trunks that were cut by Kodiak and have burned them.  I'm about to head for California for Thanksgiving, very thankful that this portion was done and safely.  On November 16, Kodiak had met with the owner of Lot 9 and myself to determine their timeframe for the removal of the trees on their portion of the dam since they seemed surprised that the tree removal was going on, though I had emailed them that information on October 22nd.  Their trees won't be removed until January, 2013 after they have signed their contract with Kodiak and paid their advance. 

The below panorama shows the dam on November 22nd, with the trees cleared to the Lot 9 property line, also a portion of the lower lake to the west.  This panorama is from the guardrail on West River Road to the north, northwest and west.

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The Dam Debris Burn Pile, November, 2012

This November 18, 2012 photo shows some of the last Mule loads from the dam dumped behind the garage on Lot 10, waiting to be burned. There had been many more, but I already burned them as they were generated by Kodiak.  The Mule was left in the picture to give a perspective of the pile size.

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The mostly pine limbs are dropped near the smoldering burn pile ready to be hand-fed.

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A key to a safe fire is to keep the fire small and burn on a calm day.  Thankfully I had both, and the limbs are being rapidly burned.

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Two hours later and the fire is smoldering, waiting for fresh fuel to be brought. But that is the work for tomorrow, the 19th of November when I will finish the dam cleanup of limbs.  It looks like it will be 2013 before the dam restoration will move forward.

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