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Progress at Salt Pond A21

Cris

I have been photographing Salt Pond A21 since 2006. This was the year that Salt Pond A21 and its neighbor, Salt Pond A20, were returned to tidal flow. The two ponds flank the abandoned hamlet of Drawbridge and their construction in the middle of the last century must have hastened the decline of that community. In 2006 large gaps were cut in the ponds’ levee along Coyote Creek and once again the tides visit twice a day.

Salt Pond A21 in 2006

A photograph of Drawbridge from my first session there in 2006.

During the first couple of years following the breach, the pond’s bottom was a bare plain of gypsum, leftover deposits from the solar evaporation process used to concentrate brine. Before long the pond bottom softened with a thin deposit of sediment and here and there started to take on the mudflat colors associated with a thin biological film. Then the first vegetation arrived, colonizing the highest ground of the pond bottom – the raised ridges of former marsh channels and the lip of the perimeter borrow ditch.

Salt Pond A21 - July 2014

This view of Salt Pond A21 shows the same area of Salt Pond A21 but from the other side looking toward Drawbridge.

For several years I made two or three trips out to Salt Pond A21 to photograph a specific area of the pond as it experienced these changes. That series of photographs continued until December 2012 when the footbridge providing access to the A21 levee finally rotted out so much that a crossing became unwise.

Salt Pond A21 - July 2014

Marsh panne in the making?

This set of photographs was taken during my first visit to Salt Pond A21 since 2012 and, my goodness, the restoration seems to have progressed nicely. Marsh vegetation has expanded noticeably in extent and density. Viewed obliquely the pond bottom now looks very much like a marsh. The borrow ditches, once deeper and sharply defined, now have soft edges and seem to be more shallow. Large open spaces in the pond’s interior seem to be contracting as vegetation expands. They are now starting to look like marsh pannes. What fun it is to watch this progress.

Salt Pond A21 - July 2014

The borrow ditch on the north side of Salt Pond A21.

Here is a set of images from the session that I have posted to Flickr:

 

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