One Word: Gabion

I forgot to mention that the township is doing some work on the creek behind my house. Step One is to denude the area of all plant life and that has started today. I just watched them stuff a big blooming forsythia into the wood chipper. Then they are going to line the creek with gabion. I imagine it will be like living on the banks of the LA river.


No more privacy. All of the dog walkers on the next street are going to be visible. Stedman is going to lose weight from all the barking.

Evening Update: It’s worse than I thought. The lookyloos and their dogs and their babies have arrived and are brazenly walking right up to creek’s edge to gawk. I’m like a free freak show when I sit on the deck with my evening refreshment. I let the dog bark at them as much as he wants.

thanks for your help, bing maps

The stars are the course of the creek ; within the red circle are trees that were chopped yesterday to make way for heavy equipment. It might not look like that collection of old trees, shrubs and bushes would afford much privacty, but it really was like living alone in the wilderness when everything was leafed out. See this screen capture from a different satellite map:

In when in full leaf, Stedman could only sense dogs over there. Now he can see them and its a bog ole barkfest.

It’s more of a ravine than a creek. When we first moved here, it was about 8 feet lower than the yard. Now it’s about 14 feet lower. Erosion! The creek takes a turn right at the shed and because of that erosion, the edge of the yard has moved inwards by about 8 feet and now  Sami’s shed is in jeopardy of falling down into the ravine. Sami keeps urging me to go to the next street and look at it but I don’t have the heart for it. As I understand it, it looks something like this:

 artist rendering

Thank goodness for those tree roots, eh?

So we really instigated this project. We’ve been a regular presence at town hall meetings talking about this for about 6 years. The creek is township property and so it would be their responsibility if the shed tumbles. Because it’s water or undeveloped land or whatever their reasoning has been, the whole project depends on EPA approval and that is a complicated lumbering beast. Also, the next door neighbor had a fit and blocked progress for two years because he want the township to create a naturalistic setting complete with fish pond along his length of the creek. the township said no.

So here we are, under construction for the whole summer. Since the banks of the ravine are so steep now, the construction company is going to create a ramp for the big machines to go in and out. The ramp will be directly in front of me as I sit on the deck in my favorite chair. maybe it will block the freak show view and the lookyloos will stay away.


15 thoughts on “One Word: Gabion

  1. I’ve built gabion walls. Basically, you assemble wire cage baskets, stack them in a row and fill them with rocks. Repeat until complete….and don’t dump the rocks too fast, unless you want to crush the basket and start all over again.

    One think I wondered about was when the baskets corrode to the point they didn’t contain the rocks. You have time to think of such things while you fill the baskets with rocks.

    • Well, they say the beauty of the gabion is that the cracks fill with dirt and seeds and then vines and small green things grow out and cover up the rocks. So, natural beauty once again. All you have to do is live long enough to see that happen.

      • I was interested a few years ago, so I stopped to look at the gabions I’d installed about ten years before. They didn’t appear to be damaged, although they did seem to have more snakes than I wanted to count.

  2. At least that is better than the creek solution for my childhood home in Camp Springs, MD. We had a lovely little creek running through the back yard, a great divider between houses. They encased the whole thing in concrete. No more easy but clear dividing line between the homes, no more fun little creek to play in, just so the house at the end didn’t flood once every 10-15 years?

  3. The Salt River runs through the center of Phoenix. There is no water in the river. None.
    Homeless people live there. We have canals filled with water diverted from the River and every year someone falls into the canal and can’t climb back out. Drowns.
    We don’t have greenery borders, we build wooden or concrete fences between houses.
    Cacti are protected species here in Arizona and there are about 60 zillion of them growing in the desert.

    We have “washes” that carry rain water during storms and usually trap some dumb motorist that has to be rescued.
    Drivers panic when it rains here. We don’t have creeks.
    Viva la difference.

    • Speaking of soulless bastards, the banks of the ravine are riddled with muskrat holes. Where I wonder will they be relocating? I’m not concerned about their welfare, only about my garden beds.

      And the damn rabbits, too.

  4. Ahem. State Open Waters are regulated by NJDEP, nor US EPA. Please correct all future correspondence (and your TPS reports were improperly collated).

    Could be worse. They could have re-defined the area as wetlands at which point the 1987 Freshwater Wetlands Act would have kicked in. This would have caused you to lose control of any changes or improvements you wanted to make on your property within 50′ of the delineation, subject to a Letter of Interpretation. Also regulated would be grass cutting, dumping of clippings or mulch, branches and debris. Fertilizing or other use of lawn chemicals? Forget it. The shed would have to be demolished or moved by hand (heavy equipment would require a separate permit). All paperwork would have to be appended to the deed of title should you ever wish to sell or transfer the property.

    Of course, if the creek is re-classified as for C-1 Trout production (albeit unlikely) all of the above would apply except the distance would increase to 150′.

    BTW, I am not making this up. So shaddap and count yourself lucky! This is NJ. We can make make your life miserable with a stroke of a pen.

    • Would that be Jersey’esque eye candy? I’m thinking The Situation. I’d have to pass, I’m more of a Huge Jackman kinda girl.

      Hmm… what does one imbibe while enjoying eye candy?

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