The objective of this project is to establish a stand of a native grass called River Oats(Chasmanthium latifolium) to help stabilize the soil along an eroded section of streambank just downstream of the Route 28 Bridge on Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Property. Once part of the Bull Run Occoquan trail, the PATC1 moved this section of trail to higher ground in August-September of 2009 to prevent it from being washed out. The soil on the old trail section and along the stream bank is a silty clay that has become compacted, devoid of organic material and is virtually bare of vegetation. The hope is that once these plants are established that they will shade the soil and trap enough plant debris to create suitable conditions for growth other plants and trees.
River Oats, also known as inland seaoats and spangle grass is a bunching grass that spreads both by seed and rhizome. It is present in large quantity on our Chapter's property along Cub Run where its tough root system does a very good job of preventing soil erosion. We have been using plants and seeds obtained from our property for this project
Some rows of seed that we planted last October have in fact sprouted but are currently only about 2 to 3 inches high. The signs that were installed May 1st have been knocked down either by flooding that occured on May 23rd or by some unknown individual.
We planted another 18 River Oat plants and put up some new signage in both English and Spanish. Some of plants that we put in last year have been stepped on by people using the old trail.
So far this year (April 2010) we have had mixed results with this project.
The river Oat rhizomes that we put in last October are thriving but flooding from snow melt this year appears to have washed away most of the seed and mulch that we laid down last fall.
Additionally the barrier and signage that we installed last fall has been knocked over and somebody built a camp fire in one of the areas that we seeded.
An additional 60 plants were put in staggered rows along the streambank.
We did an initial planting of two dozen plants as well as seeding several square yards. We erected barriers and signage requesting park users stay out of the area that we are working on in order to give the vegetation a chance to establish itself.
1. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) maintains the Bull Run Occoquan Trail for its entire 18 mile length.