A Rainy Paddle to Willow Creek and the Dreaded Waddle Problem

Tuesday December 16, 2014 Jenner CA.

It was showering as I drove down to Jenner today. The weather guy said showers and one hundred percent rain by one or two PM with thunder storms possible too.

When I arrived at Jenner, Steve had just gotten there too. We decided we might as well put in, so we donned our rain gear and headed on up the river on the north side in a light rain.

Here we are heading up the river on the north shoreline, just above the town of Jenner. stebr


First downpour

Just past that spot, we got caught in our first downpour, but we kept on going. I had to revert to my waterproof camera, a small Pentax that sometimes takes better pictures than my larger more expensive camera, especially in the rain.rain


The problem with waddles

We continued on up the river, taking our time. We passed by the highway one bridge where I ran into this waddle that had floated down the river. It was pouring down rain so it was hard to get a decent picture.waddle


Now, these kind of plastic netted waddles are one of my biggest pet peeves. The western states require the use of these things for erosion control for earth moving type projects of most any kind. The problem is they leave them out forever and they don’t decompose very fast, especially in the  water.

Eventually, they will all end up in our waterways

And guess where all of them will end up in years to come. They all will work their way down the rivers to the oceans. Not particularly good for the wild life. They have been putting out thousands of these things in the last years.

Here’s what they look like when they first put them out. This one was installed in the Jenner parking area when they redid it a number of years ago. Even the stakes they use to hold them down are dangerous if one was to fall on a stake.waddles


Any time I see any state guys or any chance I’ve had to talk with people that have anything to do with them, I give them the message that this is the biggest problem the river is going to face in coming years if nothing is done about it and it’s already likely too late as thousands have been put out so far.

On my bitching they did change them to biodegradable, but, in the water or in the dirt, they still don’t degrade very fast. Actually, I don’t bitch at them or argue. I’ve learned to just have a discussion pointing out the facts. In this case it’s easy to see that the thousands of these things they put out are going to add up and will be in our streams and in fact already are showing up.

They might be making a change?

I’m happy to report that I’ve seen them finally do something about them. Lately, I’ve seen some of them being made out of burlap instead of plastic, so that might help a a bit as the burlap has a bitter chance to decompose.

Unfortunately, most of the other western states have copied California in the use of these plastic waddles, so there are a lot of them out there, even in the desert where I have to question their use a bit?

  They seem to be scattered all over the place in places I’d question their use in the first place. In a lot of the places they are used, natural rocks would be a better choice and they are already a part of the environment and last for a long time and don’t decompose readily and aren’t the eye sore that the plastic stuff is. I mean, really, we’re putting plastic in all our forests, waterways and deserts. Just about everywhere.

Turkey vultures always do well

Anyway, just past that were some turkey vultures eating what was left of some kind of big fish.vulture


Paddling into Willow Creek

We continued on until we got up to the Willow creek area, where we crossed over the river to get to the spot to enter the creek. Willow creek goes up into that canyon across the river. We can paddle up it about a quarter mile or so, which we did.willow2


Not many birds in the area at this time

There aren’t too many birds on this part of the river right now. Some bufflehead ducks were sheltering in the Willow creek entrance as we approached.buffleheads


And there were a few of these grebe fishing on the river today too.grene


The rain had stopped for a bit as we entered the creek and paddled up as far as we could go were we had a  lunch break.

Going up Willow creek.willowcreek


Now, it was really starting to rain

While we were back there, the rain was starting to pick up as we were leaving.

Here is Steve as we left the creek. He found this boat gas can earlier. It was in good shape so he packed it home.willow


We headed on down the river in the current and the rain. It was really starting to come in now.

Here we are going by Eagle’s landing in some heavy rain.russianriverrain


It looked like the rain was here to stay for the rest of the day now as we paddled along here, almost back to Jenner.jenner


What now Steve?

I asked Steve what he wanted to do? He said he didn’t expect it to be quite this rainy and windy, so let’s go in for the day.

The wind gets blustery

As we started to cross over to Penny Island, the wind picked up, which made it hard to take pictures with one hand and keep the paddle from blowing away with the other hand.

An eagle feeds, but I can’t take any pictures

As we approached the island I could  see a bald headed eagle on the shoreline eating something, but I couldn’t get a picture as I was being blown around a lot at this point and had to put my camera away, which wasn’t easy getting it back in my pack as my paddle was trying to get away from me and a paddle isn’t something one wants to lose in this kind of stuff.rain2


The rain and the wind continued all the way back to the boat ramp and I didn’t try to take my camera out again.

We got our boats on the cars in the pouring down rain and headed on home for the day.

Good thing too, as while driving home, the rains came down even harder than before.

I got home and hung all my stuff up to dry and hit the couch for a nap.

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