Making lemonade, that's what Robin Macy calls her project to dredge the creek at Bartlett Arboretum.
The drought may be causing a lot of problems, but it's also provided owners of the arboretum the opportunity to do some maintenance work that's only been done twice in the last 102 years
“I would say this is a once in a lifetime dream come true,” said Robin Macy, the arboretum’s owner and operator. She is excited to see this mess because in the long run it will mean less mess for her to deal with.
“Over the years it's really silted in,” said Chris Barnhart of Beran Concrete and Excavating.
“We have a lot of flooding problems when we have gullywashers,” added Macy. “So any measurable amount of rainfall would readily flood the place.”
The dream started when the arboretum won a $25,000 grant through a social media contest held by Markham Vineyards in 2008. But wet summers the next couple of years made dredging still too expensive. Even after two years of drought it isn't easy.
“We've just been fighting to get, you know, trying to get the mud out. You know, everybody thought it was dry,” said Barnhart.
But the drought is what finally made the project possible along with the donated excavating skills of Beran Concrete.
Digging out decades’ worth of fish bones, rotting vegetation and other debris will help keep the creek from flooding.
“It's also going to create a better ecosystem for fish, eliminate blue green algae,” said Macy.
They plan to dredge six to ten feet deep from the dam all the way to the mouth of the Euphrates creek. The project is ahead of schedule and should be finished in the next two weeks. The silt will be spread on a nearby meadow, owned by the arboretum, and turned into a Tallgrass Prairie.