April 30th Temporary Playground Closure 

FoSG volunteers spreading wood fiber on swing area.

The circular play area at Salter Grove will be closed on Saturday, April 30, 2022, from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. so that wood fiber can be spread to provide a safe play surface. FoSG members and volunteers will do the deed.

The two swing areas have already been renewed and will remain open. For the safety of your children, please keep them out of the work and travel areas.

Filling In the Gaps

Volunteers plant more prostrate conifers to take advantage of upcoming rain. 

All the plants in the parking area survived the winter, but there was still a lot of open space. So two dozen conifers (Blue Rug, Bar Harbor, Blue Pacific, and Nana) were added to more quickly cover the ground, which is expected to take 3-5 years.

Meanwhile, a barricade reminds visitors not to walk through the planted area until it is well established. A foot path has been provided at the northern end.

A thick layer of large wood chips has done a great job of retaining soil moisture where no water standpipe is available. Let’s keep this area clean and attractive! 

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Soil Speed Bumps

Warwick Tree Warden Carlos Pineirho plans remediation 

A section of the wooded hillside above the vernal pond has lost all vegetative cover due to wind storms, leaving extensive patches of bare soil. This area is vulnerable to severe erosion which will silt the pond and eventually make its way into the Bay.

To forestall this, plans are afoot to drag some dead trees into the area to check downhill water flow. Once these main structural components are in place, brush will be piled between to provide additional erosion protection.

The brush piles will also serve as habitat for rodents that will hopefully serve as ‘meals on wheels’ to encourage an American Mink spotted in the area to stick around. 

Mink photographed on the rocks just offshore from Audubon Field

Not Just One Bald Eagle, But Five!

A second-year Bald Eagle (left) and a third-year bird (right) overlooking North Cove on December 15, 2021 

Previously, Bald Eagles seen at Salter Grove have been rare and solitary. It was therefore a great surprise to see five of them around North Cove the morning of December 15, 2021. 

During 90 minutes of observations from the causeway the eagles were mostly at rest, enjoying the sunshine on the large rocks and breakwater near Marsh Island, or roosting in two very tall tree crowns above houses on the western shore. They must have dined well recently because none of the eagles bothered to steal fish from gulls busily feeding nearby. Despite their majestic bearing, Bald Eagles are well-known kleptoparasites!

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Making a Better First Impression

Newly-planted parking area 

A good start to improving the appearance of the parking area was made with plantings of evergreen conifers in a damaged lawn area and the addition of rocks and winterberry to the rain garden by Atlantic Lawn and Garden. We are grateful for a grant from The Champlin Foundation, which funded this project. 

Artist’s rendering of planned new signage 

We are waiting on DPW’s schedule to remove the unsightly signage around the flagpole at the top of the parking area and to pour concrete pads for replacement signage and an additional waste receptacle. These components of the parking safety and esthetics project have been funded by a grant from the Vivian J. Palmieri Charitable Trust.

Come spring we’ll replace the plants that did not survive, fill in the gaps to more quickly establish ground cover, and seed the bare patches on the perimeter of the parking lot. Meanwhile, the latter are protected from erosion by jute mats.

Low plants were selected to preserve the view of the coves. Please help the plants grow healthily by not crossing the temporary barrier placed around them. 

New rocks challenge energetic young visitors

La Salle Students Plan Community Service

Leya Mohan, a senior at La Salle Academy, organized members of the Environmental Action Club for the tour. She is admiring the deeply-furrowed and reddish-brown trunk of the dawn redwood in the park.

FoSG volunteers Marina Wong and Joan DiSanto gave a tour of Salter Grove on October 16th to members of the Environmental Action Club from La Salle Academy (Megan Chan, Kendall Leishing, Leya Mohan, Aidan Murray, and Mia Swenson) so they can assess how to dedicate their community service hours to help mitigate the environmental problems of the park. Several of the students were particularly interested in coastal and marine environmental issues. 

Students quickly realized that they cannot distinguished native plants from introduced plants just from looking so they were shown specific examples and readily learned to recognize poison ivy—a native even if noxious species! Of the 17 climbing plant species in the park, they examined how three of them used different techniques to reach the tops of trees. The students were also challenged to describe the arrangement of leaves, a key character used to identify woody plants. 

L to R: Kendall Leishing, Megan Chan, and Mia Swenson work out how to describe the leaf arrangement of the dawn redwood. 

The budding environmentalists from La Salle Academy also walked the length of the breakwater from the southern tip of Rock Island northward to Marsh Island while pondering how the breakwater and causeway have created three aquatic habitats where there used to be just one. They also saw first hand how some recent visitors like to leave trash behind to mark their visit on the breakwater. 

Little did these students realize how much effort had already been expended in trash removal during 2021 by numerous Save the Bay cleanups spearheaded by Andy Lohmeier, and frequent litter patrols by Jason Major, both FoSG members. The breakwater has actually not been so clean for a while!

Vanguard EAC members of La Salle Academy L to R. Front: Aidan Murray, Leya Mohan; Back: Megan Chan, Kendall Leishing and Mia Swenson, already with collected trash in hand. 

Nonetheless, and unsurprisingly given their concern for the environment, EAC members found the trash so unsightly on the breakwater that they would like to get the litter load even lower. So besides helping to manage invasive plants at the park, they would like to schedule a school-wide cleanup of the breakwater in November to close out the year.