Winter ecology

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the natural world simply vanishes out of sight. While many critters hibernate, other ecological systems truly thrive in the cold. Below-ice organisms serve as a marker of sorts for the health of a watershed while other indicators of a vibrant, winter ecology abound. “Ice is vice” is a tongue-in-cheek expression, Yet, the impact of ice on the natural habitats found along the Rancocas are far from one-dimensional. To the contrary, these subtle but dynamic influences merit our attention and appreciation.

Some time-tested advice is “get out there” and embrace the winter season. Start discovering some of the little critter tracks in the snow. Enjoy taking in the slow-motion ballet of creek-ice formation.

Relish winter wildlife in all its glory.

And after some wandering about through nature’s resplendent classroom, head into one of the creekside communities, like historic Mt. Holly Village, for a savory meal, a belly-warming cup of Joe, or glass or two of “attitude-adjustment.” Who knows, you may discover what we have over at Rancocas Pathways, “a natural treasure hidden in plain sight.”

Evolution of Ice

Winter Ecology

Ice Letter

Scottish Article on Ice formation and Ice Pancakes

Under Ice Microbes

Ice is Vice

Rancocas Creek Water Trail – Creek Mile 14 found at Mt. Holly Village’s Ironworks Park–where the mill dam “rips”. Please paddle safely, as tidal ice is starting to form. Yes, you will likely get a bit cold while undertaking some winter observations of the water trails natural wonders. Ice surely offers a remarkable environment. Very chill is one way to put it. Videography introduces people to the Rancocas Creek Water Trail with its head of tide and westerly outflow from the famed NJ Pine Barrens. “Ice is vice” offers the early phases in the evolution of ice formation on the Rancocas. Still photos and video help capture the beauty of foamed crystals (a natural science in itself) consolidating as bubbles and the as circular, flat pans of slush. Hoping to post the entire cycle from freeze-up to the Mid-winter thaw. Feel free to zap along any questions you may have on this subject. And, yeah, it’s always a fine time to get out there paddling, so long as the “creek -ice don’t rise’ (too much ;)!

DefrAIn Sand Mines

Defrain Sand Mines are found along RCM 24.3. Remains of the 1890’s barges, tugs and scows surface at a low tide. RP is splicing together old newspapers articles, fb postings, discussions and local archives to re-construct the extractive maritime commerce of the Rancocas Creek. Hainesport, South Branch; Defrain on the Main Stem to Delaware River Port of Philadelphia piers and landings.

This is an evolving geo-spatial community focused effort to promote public access and enhance water quality. The wealth of old submerged timbers and flanking natural tidal marsh buffers, in place 300-400 yards running to protected creek banks of the Burlington County Greenway that flanks the Rancocas. Co-junction of the Rancocas Creek and the Delaware River is the catalyst for a unique environmental resource and heritage inventory of the Rancocas Creek and the maritime community of the Delaware River estuary, proper.

Part 1 of 5 completed parts focus is the Defrain Sand Mines, RCM 24.3

The ERHI is part and process of the National Water Trail, Rancocas Creek nomination package. ERHI anchors program forums and outreach discussions that focus on the relationships for public access and promotes multi-use water quality along West Jersey’s largest tributary to the Delaware River, whose maritime heritage goes back 400 years and before that 6,000-8,000 years back when native Americans traversed that which is the fabric of the Rancocas Creek watershed.

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