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Trout Brook Nature Preserve

Trout Brook Nature Preserve

Blazing Trails and Building Bridges

The SPLT has been transforming an unmaintained gravel pit into a natural area with stream-side, deep wood and meadow trails, new signage, two new bog bridges and a new 45 foot bridge over Trout Brook. We have held six work parties to get much of the work done and our program manager keeps the trails well groomed.

In the photo to the left, SPLT Volunteers, Kirsten McWilliams, Scott Whited and Sue Woodman lay low-erosion mulch to create a trail across a meadow to Sawyer Street.

Portland Trails aided the project by contributing $1000 from its Bridges Campaign to help pay for a span crossing the brook and provided essential expertise needed in constructing the bridge landings. Both Custom Float Services and Keeley Crane, the fabricator and installer of the bridge, discounted their fees for this important community project.

In one of our more thrilling moments of the year, the crane from Keeley Crane (in photo to the right) elevated the bridge span over tall trees and placed it gently on prepared bridge landings. The bridge provides a better view of the braided channel that flows toward Trout Brook's important springs.

In the photo to the left, Jaime Parker (l) of Portland Trails and Dale Dyer (r) of Custom Float Services survey their good work. The bridge as well as a new southern trail are now open for use.

Much more is planned for the preserve as we design interpretive signage and construct a new entrance off Sawyer Street. The SPLT also plans to continue partnering with Portland Trails in a service learning project in which high school students identify and eradicate harmful invasive plant species within the preserve.

In addition, during the last week of September 2012, the City of South Portland -- utilizing a $5,000 grant from the Casco Estuary Partnership’s Community-Based Habitat Enhancement Program -- will conduct a fish habitat enhancement project in the stream channel of the brook. The project tasks will include uprooting several less desirable trees and anchoring them in and across the stream channel. Although, this work may cause some plant and trail disruption, it will markedly improve fish cover, aquatic insect habitat and will help deflect some of the damaging erosive energy of flood stage flow.

Also, a small portion of manmade berm along the stream bank will be breached so the brook can access the floodplain during high flow periods to alleviate downstream flooding and erosion.