Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pistol Creek Wetland

Swamp Milkweed growing near the board walk

Pistol Creek  Wetland  with Michael 

Friday August 15, 2014
Sunday Sept. 7,2014 Return visit with Kenny

Pictures are here: Pistol Creek Wetland Pix

Grandson Michael who is five and its getting so BIG! He's the biggest kid in his class!

   During the beginning of the school year for August the kindergarteners had a staggered schedule.
It was half days off and on for two weeks.   I had some fun things lined up to do with my grandson 
Michael who had just begun kindergarten on the half days.     One day we headed out to the farm at
Conings. Next stop after buying veggies was Pistol Creek Wetland for a short walk.  It is like walking
around your yard distance wise, but there is a gazebo and a boardwalk.    Last we were supposed to
go to the Sandy Springs Park across the way and eat snacks, play on the playground and play in the 
creek. I had a net for catching critters, boats, cord to tie to boats, watering can, and all sorts of 
balls. I figured we'd wear it out.  Just have one of those evenings where I'll go home when I'm good and 
ready!  He did not have school the next day at all. I did not have to work since he IS my work.  
   Looking up into the top of the gazebo.  

  The farm visit went great.   The wetland visit was cut short by him suddenly not feeling well.
It was very hot and I don't know if the heat got to him or what went wrong?  We made it through two
parts of our trip, but he just wanted to go home.  My usually energetic little grandson did not even
care about going to play in the park with Nanny.  I determined then I'd go back to finish up my exploration
on another trip.  I went back and finished up this past Sunday Sept. 7, 2014 with Kenny, my spouse.

   Pistol Creek Wetland Center is located in the city of Maryville, TN.  It was part of the old Delozier
Farm.   Pistol Creek passes through one side of it with housing developments on either side of it.   A large 
spring is in the middle of it.  A gazebo and walkway have been constructed along with a permeable
concrete parking lot equipped with a drainage system to deal with run off water and feed it back into the
ground or the wetland.   The gazebo is a gathering place and they keep educational boards and handouts there.  It tells about management practices for the wetland here. It also educates about wetlands and about 
ecologically sound practices such as use of rain barrels, permeable concrete parking lots and that 
sort of thing.   The area students get a chance to learn about the ecosystem.

   I  noticed on this last visit that the wetland was very dry.  I also noticed they had cut all the shrubs and large trees. Overgrowth of vegetation especially large trees and shrubs or cattails in a wetland is one way to ensure it does not remain a wetland!  Willows, alders, cattails and large shrubs are sure ways to suck up the water and dry a place out.  I still recall my very smart Papaw Bradley 
had a bad wet spot in the yard up to the Country.  It was a place we liked to play volleyball in the backyard.
He removed a dozen cattail plants from the marsh behind the house and planted them in this spot and in a couple years that area was dry. It was as normal as the rest of the yard.  I read after beginning to type up this
blog entry that the wetland was drying up and going away! It was disappearing despite the 100 gallons per minute being pumped into it by the spring!  I learned from the article I read that the spring here is THE Sandy Spring. It has sand in the bottom of it sure enough.   So the city hired a manager for the wetland who
has the appropriate experience to help manage a wetland ecosystem.   I took it for granted coming from
where I did that anyone would have sense enough to know you'd best cut back some of the trees and shrubs and dig up some cattails or you won't have a wetland for long.   They also said they found two drainage ditches in it once they had cut the brush back.  It appeared the ditches had been filled once they were discovered.   Hopefully this will help restore the wetland.


     Sandy Spring in the middle of the wetland. This is the water source that formed it. It pumps out 100 gallons per minute!

Michael with the critter catching net on the boardwalk.

Pistol Creek below. It is not real pretty today.

Blue lobelia was blooming on a repeat visit with Kenny!

Great blue lobelia, orange jewelweed, red cardinal flower, white  snakeroot in bloom by the spring.

   It was a beautiful walk and very short.  It was hot today.  I enjoyed it.
Wildlife seen the first visit? A flock of goldfinches and a green heron.  Second visit? Only a few minnows in the spring and one hummingbird feeding on the jewelweed.

   Flower species seen in combination of both trips:

Cardinal Flower          Great Blue Lobelia
Swamp Milkweed        Purple New York Ironweed
Mist Flower                 White Snakeroot
Golden wingstem           White wingstem
Spotted Jewelweed        White turtleheads
Black eyed susans           Goldenrod

Joe Pye Weed                 Wild Clematis vine in flower
Shrubby Seedbox          Sneezeweed
Thistle                           Square stemmed monkey flower


  1. Hey I been here a few times! We used to live right up the road off Sandy Springs!

    1. Its a pretty nice place, but its not very wet anymore. Hope the fixer uppers they've planned work. Pretty area, but too schmaltzy for me. The houses right around it.


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