Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Swamp Stomp

The schedule of the day at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest included taking the Santee Cooper interns on a stomp across the swamp! Well, one third the way across the swamp. We needed to reestablish the northern boundary line for the sanctuary portion of Beidler Forest and the extra hands were volunteered just in time.

Although a lack of rain was an issue for the canoeing portion of summer camp, low water levels made traversing the swamp almost as easy as walking across one's yard. Now, if only the swamp looked like it did in December when we planned this exercise. In order to get from the west side of the swamp to a designated point on the east side of the swamp, we plotted points 100 meters apart using our Geographic Information System (GIS) software. The spacing between the points was reasonable for winter (leaves-off) conditions, but it did not work well with the lush vegetation of the summer. By the time the GPS batteries died and the humans began to wilt, we had drifted southeast from the line by approximately 50 feet. As this is an internal boundary, the line does not need to be precise (thank goodness) and can be brought back on track with the addition of points between the ones already plotted.

We'll be back at it on Thursday, but now it's time to hose off the mud and drive home for a proper shower and a cool beverage!

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