Tomorrow it’s back on with the blue volunteer sweatshirt and the black fleece and out on the towpath for CRT. I have done very little for them this year, mainly because all the action seems to have been east of Paddington which I have decided is out of my reasonable journey time from home, but this time I have a chance to do something interesting along the dear old Slough Arm.
Using a special iPad app linked to GPS, we’ll be recording “woody growth” - trees, shrubs and saplings, growing between the towpath and the water, including that growing out of the “wash wall”, sometimes damaging the canal bank. Apparently customer feedback had highlighted this as a problem so CRT made it a priority last winter and Fountains, the contractor, was asked to cut down any such growth. Inevitably some will have been missed, so that’s what we’re looking for, so any remaining can go on the job list for this winter. Because the contractor is paid for trees by number and size to be cut, but by length of towpath affected by other growth, (e.g three trees, or ten metres of shrubs) we have to decide when a tree is a tree, or when it is a shrub or a sapling. Any guesses?
Well the answer according to CRT is to estimate the diameter of the trunk at 1.5 metres above the ground, for me that’s shoulder height. Anything bigger than 3 inches is a tree. (yeah I know I have mixed metric and imperial, that’s me not them.) Hmm I might take a bit of string with a knot at 9.4 inches as it might be easier to measure circumference sometimes. I know, I know, I’m an anorak. I hope I don’t find anything at exactly three inches, I might have a meltdown trying to decide.
Anything smaller is “other woody growth”. Then of course there are separate definitions for Small, Medium and Large trees, but I doubt we’ll be finding anything above Small. “But when is woody growth woody growth”, I hear you ask? Well stuff like brambles, saplings and shrubs, but not grasses, weeds, ferns and all that stuff.
So it all sounds like fun. Anything we find will have its GPS location recorded and sent to CRT through the magic of telecomms. Deep joy.
Changing the subject, you may remember my recent posts about choosing how to connect up a second solar panel. Well I’ve bought one, and immediately come upon a problem which could have blown all of my research out of the water. You might need to know, so I tell you all later.