No sand berms this year

The Park District built no sand berms this year. The simple reason is that the people who knew how to run the machines, retired. In these budget constrained times, nobody was hired to replace them. Additionally, the snow fence was placed next to the sidewalk. The way snow fence works is that it creates drifts just downwind from it. That is why, in previous years, they put it in the middle of the beach. This year they followed the lead of the erosion control project and put the fence near the sidewalk. The results are big drifts on the sidewalk. All of the snow on the beach blew and didn’t stop til it hit the fence and then piled up on the other side. Better luck next year!

So, is snow a stand in for sand? Will the erosion control project pile more sand on the sidewalks? I think that it won’t. Although snow and sand both blow, sand is much heavier and slows down much faster. Someone did their thesis on how long it took a sand grain to stop, and it was 15 feet. That is the width of our erosion control strips.

Where there was some accumulation of sand in the newly planted areas, snow did slow down and not drift as much behind. Since not much new sand has collected, the snow fence is still the feature that is affecting snow deposition the most.

Future years will give us more information, and hopefully we will be proved right in our placement. In the meantime, walking is easier on the beach than the sidewalk.

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