Eastwood Volunteers Stabilize Creek Bank

The EHA committee — Francis Shaner, Michael Parkey, Maribeth Sears, Mike Daniel, Ginger Travis; Bill Munk; Warren Travis — pose on a warmer day in December. — All photos by Joyce Pollard

Community Contribution

Earlier this month, the hardy volunteers of the Eastwood Homeowners Association Riparian Committee recycled more than 80 Christmas trees and assorted greenery into the deep tributary of Dixon Branch.

They used the trees for an erosion control technique called “brush revetment” in which cut trees, branches, or brush are staked or buried in trenches to stabilize an earthen slope and prevent erosion, in this case in the area bordered by Lippitt Avenue, Creekmere Drive, Sinclair Avenue, and Easton Road.

“Brush revetment is cheap and uses materials that otherwise would be landfill waste,” committee Chairman Michael Parkey, ASLA, said. “Volunteers can do it without specialized tools or heavy equipment, and it’s easy to install around existing trees without damaging them.”

Parkey and his team have been conducting annual Christmas tree revetment since 2002. Because they live in the Eastwood neighborhood, they’re able to see impact of their work.

“Our techniques have improved a lot with practice,” Parkey said. “In areas that were eroding very badly before we placed the Christmas trees, we can see where the erosion has stopped and new sediment is being deposited instead of washed away. This has helped save some large trees and prevent damage to streets and utilities. Some of our earliest work is now completely invisible because new vegetation is growing over it.”

The revetment is necessary work, but it isn’t necessarily easy work. It requires a volunteer, or two, to pitch a tree down a steep bank into the creek where other volunteers, usually in water up to their knees, place the trees along the bank and hammer rebar “staples” to secure the trees.

“We always wish we could work in nice weather when the creek is dry,” Parkey said, “but the Christmas trees are only available when we have our coldest temperatures and when there is usually water in the creek.

“Two years ago, the ice over the creek was strong enough for us to stand on … for a little while. Then it broke and dunked us. Even the most dedicated volunteer has to stop when his or her boots are filled with icy water. Really, given the hard, uncomfortable work that is sometimes involved we have an amazing group of volunteers.”

The EHA Riparian Committee is one of the few community erosion control programs in North Texas managed completely by volunteers, according to Parkey. The group has won city, state, and federal funding to support their erosion control work, including a 2010-2011 Loving My Community grant from the city of Dallas.

Thanks to Joyce Pollard for providing the words and pictures, which she snapped.


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  1. Yahoo! The ol’ Dixon Branch is so lucky to have you. Great job and thanks for bringing notice to the public. Dallas’ creeks need all the help and good press they can get!

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