Task 2.3: Landscape management (weed control).

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East side of the bridge.


The bridge is now surrounded by a boisterous symphony of weeds, including poison ivy, vines, shrubs, and trees, as well as the famous Flint Hills tall grass. Dividing the area around the bridge into quadrants, we can say that the northwest quadrant is maintained in an attractive state by simply mowing and removing brush.

The northeast quadrant of the bridge is overwhelmed with weeds, making it nearly impossible to enter this area. There are no trees close by the bridge in this area, so shading does not reduce the rampant growth. Bringing the weeds under control in this area would open up what may be the best viewpoints for seeing the bridge in its entirety. A thorough eradication of the poison ivy is necessary. A visit to the bridge should be memorable, but not for that reason.

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Southwest wing wall.


The south side of the bridge is in single ownership, both the southwest and southeast quadrants, and is in cultivation. From the high bank to the water’s edge, however, there is a tangle of fallen branches, vines, and weeds. Although it is unlikely that many visitors would attempt to descend to the river on this side it would greatly improve the overall impression of the site if this bank were somewhat groomed. The south bank provides many opportunities for viewpoints, but some are blocked by unsightly tree branches and brush.

Occasional attention from local volunteers could make the landscape an asset to the appearance of the bridge, rather than a detraction, as well as allowing visitors to view the bridge from places that are now virtually inaccessible.

Accomplished by:

Initially, this task could be difficult, but, once under control, the surrounding vegetation can easily be maintained in the desired state. The first step is to secure the necessary agreements with the adjoining property owners to either maintain the landscaping, as the residents on the northwest already do, or agree to have volunteers maintain it for them.


 

As a second step, a plant specialist needs to be engaged to inventory the plant species present, especially the poison ivy, and to recommend the proper cleanup and maintenance routine.


 

Finally, a crew of weedwhacker-wielding volunteers can periodically visit the site and keep the vegetation in the desired state.

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