Sunday morning. A thick fog, which is just starting to lift as I hit the creek.
Sounds are muffled. The cars crossing the Griffiths Road bridge sound as though they’re much further away, but the bubbly ragtime of Eric Gibbons’ trombone over at the farmers’ markets sounds as though it’s coming from inside the drooping branches of the fig trees in Richardson Park.
It’s been raining and the water’s dark. Since the start of La Nina last year a little “beach” has appeared at the confluence of the Styx and the Chaucer Street drain. It’s only a few feet long, maybe twenty feet by three feet, but it has the dappled corrugations of a real beach. I thought it was topsoil being washed down from the playing fields upstream but now I realise that it’s made from the sandy silt that leaches out from behind the concrete bankings.
There are gaps appearing in the soil behind the concrete in some stretches of the creek, holes that you could stick your arm into (if you were foolhardy enough to want to do so).
Wherever you have a hard material up against a soft material you’ll have some kind of erosion. Down at Throsby Creek they’re tackling the issue by removing some of the concrete bankings and replacing them with battered-back rock revetments.
I’m not sure that this would work for the Styx, if only because the banking is so much steeper and deeper, but at some point in the future Hunter Water is going to have to engage with this problem. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with, given that the Styx (unlike Throsby) isn’t surrounded by well-visited, highly used parkland.
In the meantime, Jemena Pty Ltd, the owners of the derelict gasworks, have installed a couple of new inspection caps.