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Reflections of Nature by Bob Jones - Pigeon River

In the March 2013 article, I talked about our Pigeon River watershed and the tremendous natural resource it is. This summer, the LaGrange County SWCD along with local Mongo businesses was able to secure a grant to remove 32 logjams along the Pigeon Creek between 1200 E (LaGrange/Steuben county line) and 900 E (just before the Mongo reservoir). These logjams created significant obstacles that altered river flow and added sediment build-up affecting wildlife habitat. Through the months of July and August and into September, these logjams have been removed or moved. As the logjams were removed, the logs were used to build up the shoreline and actually enhance existing habitat and create new habitat for wildlife and fish.

Staff from the LaGrange County SWCD took time on September 5, 2013 to float this section of Pigeon Creek. The creek water level was a little low because of the recent lack of rain, but we had little difficulty in floating down the creek. The day was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the low 70’s with little humidity. I was struck by the peaceful quiet of the creek. No road noise, no honking horns, no shouts from crowds of people. What I did hear were birds chirping and water flowing. It had been many years since I had last floated down a river and had forgotten the wonderful sights and sounds of nature.

As we traveled down the creek, we saw the work done by the logjam removal crew. It was hard to tell what they had removed at several of the sites. They had moved many of the logs up against the shoreline reinforcing the creek bank and creating new habitat areas. They left some logs alone if they were not obstructing the flow of the creek keeping the natural quality intact. Many of the spots hardly showed anything had been done.

At one point, we looked up to our right and saw a Great Blue Heron flying from tree to tree. Such a graceful flight. The water was very clear. You could see the bottom of the creek with no cloudiness. All of a sudden, we saw a young school of trout flash past us. This is a good indication of a healthy river. As we came around a bend, there was a turtle sunning himself on a log. We looked closer and saw a yellow neck as he stretched his head up. This was a Blanding’s turtle. In Indiana, this is an endangered species. It was remarkable to see such a specimen.

Around another bend, we came upon the removal crew working on another logjam. We stopped and watched for a few minutes to see how they worked the logjam. They pulled a large log with a chain and power wench. They pulled it out of the middle of the creek and repositioned it along the creek bank helping stabilize the area. It was amazing watching the care they took in doing their work.

I have to say once again what a wonderful natural resource we have in La Grange County. I encourage you to take time to explore the Pigeon River and get back in touch with Mother Nature. It will be a calming and restorative feeling.