Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby Ducked » 07 Dec 2011, 19:21

There's a thread over in Cars and Motorcycles at the moment where its alleged that a lot of Taiwan's roadworks have the sole objective of lining contractors pockets.

Its probably true, but it doesn't piss me off nearly as much as pointless, destructive "landscaping" of the "natural" environment.

They've been at this for several years on the foreshore at Anping, a scarce open beach (i.e. NOT backed by a concrete seawall) with scarce (and visibly scarcer each year) windbreak woodland behind it.

Was down there at the weekend and they've thought up a new one.

There was a natural scrub-covered sandspit at the river mouth, acting as a breakwater. No more. Now its been "terraformed" into a higher, bare sand embankment, inadequately protected from wave erosion by a double line of bamboo revetment. Waves now seem to break much further up-river. I didn't have a camera but I'll get some pics next time I'm down there, if it hasn't all been washed away.

There MAY be a legitimate reason/excuse for this. I'd be quite interested in hearing it. Perhaps it provides more space for the "eco-tourist" raft boats.
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby Ducked » 21 May 2012, 20:16

Some pictures. I took them over a month ago but have only just got around to posting.

Incidentally I realise this isn't directly about animals, but its about habitat, and I dunno a better place to post it.

I don't have a "before" but the Google Maps satellite image predates the buggering about.

The first two sky shots show the sandspit (formerly one of my favored beach walks) before removal. The other photos were taken from the bridge visible in the skyshots.

(The high albedo of some of the tracks in the second aerial is because they're made of crushed oyster shells)

Image
SichaoSandSpit1 by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

Image
SihchaoSandSpitWide by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

The following shots show what was left of the "harbour" breakwater that was constructed with the spoil from the removed sandspit.

The area of broken water out beyond the bamboo revetments, with a few vertical (net support?) poles roughly corresponds to the original sandspit, which will probably re-form in time, if its allowed to.

Image
upload30_01_2012 029 by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

Image
upload30_01_2012 030 by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

About half of it is gone already, though there hasn't yet been any very heavy weather, and certainly no typhoons.

I don't think you have to be Dutch, or even an engineer, or even someone who once made a sandcastle as a child, to be able to say that this was entirely predictable.

The next shot shows the new lyricism of Taiwanese landscape architecture without (much) concrete. This is better than the old lyricism of Taiwanese landscape architecture with (lots of) concrete, but unfortunately it won't last, in either sense, and it won't get any maintenance when it starts to fall apart.

Image
upload30_01_2012 033 by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

I've not seen anyone using this area. There's no shade, and Taiwanese prefer to picnic under the bridge, where there is a sufficient concentration of concrete to provide a cultural comfort zone.

Ecotourist boats. I guess they'll be heading way up river come the next typhoon.

Image
upload30_01_2012 037 by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

It didn't have a sign before. Must give them a sense of achievement.

OTOH it was a harbour.

Image
upload30_01_2012 038 by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

I dunno WTF they thought they were playing at, apart from perhaps making a quick buck.

I've asked my GF to ask people WTF they thought they were playing at, but she claims not to know the Chinese for "WTF did you think you were playing at", and she reckons, if she did, it might inflict loss of face to ask.

The only slightly possible justification I can think of is that it might allow the sea to flush pollution out of the river mouth a bit better, but it was washed by the tide anyway, and there was some foreigner outfit running occaisional kayak tours (probably a bit exposed for that now over a lot of the area) that reckoned it wasn't too bad, so I dunno how viable that is as a justification.

EDIT: Another possibility MIGHT be they want to reduce the velocity of tidal flows at the river entrance as an aid to navigation. Fishing raft-boats do operate in and around the river mouth on occaision, but they dont seem to go in and out much. AFAIK, small ones based inside tend to stay in there, and bigger ones from elsewhere tend to stay out. There are probably occaisional exceptions, though. ENDEDIT
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby urodacus » 21 May 2012, 21:51

Don't worry Ed. First major typhoon will settle all that sand back in place soon enough.
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby Ducked » 22 May 2012, 20:46

urodacus wrote:Don't worry Ed. First major typhoon will settle all that sand back in place soon enough.


Probably true. OTOH, some of the gratuitious damage they've done at and behind Anping beach looks to be self-sustaining.

Upriver from here there's some rare and endangered (both as a habitat and for some individual species) mangrove that's now considerably more exposed to wave action.

Of course it might be OK, but since whoever was responsible for this exercise is apparently a fraud and/or a fuckwit, somehow I doubt their environmental-impact-assessment competence, think-too-much stylee.

Call me cynical.
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby urodacus » 22 May 2012, 21:19

cynical but sadly realistic, and right to boot.

So, where can I get me a Taiwanese grader and taiwanese gangsta council connections?
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby Ducked » 22 May 2012, 22:10

urodacus wrote:cynical but sadly realistic, and right to boot.

So, where can I get me a Taiwanese grader and taiwanese gangsta council connections?


I think you can probably hire them. That's usually the way these things work.
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby *monkey* » 23 May 2012, 09:17

If you use Google Earth you can view historical imagery of that point. Going back to 2003, you can see that original promontory was only half the size it is now. The growth area has been on the slack water side.

Judging by its shape and position I'd say that it isn't natural. It was likely created as a dumping spot during the last effort to dredge the rivermouth. By blocking half of the river mouth, the velocity of the water in the unrestricted half is doubled, keeping a working channel clear of sedimentation and deep enough for large vessels to get through.
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby Ducked » 23 May 2012, 15:16

*monkey* wrote:If you use Google Earth you can view historical imagery of that point. Going back to 2003, you can see that original promontory was only half the size it is now. The growth area has been on the slack water side.

Judging by its shape and position I'd say that it isn't natural. It was likely created as a dumping spot during the last effort to dredge the rivermouth. By blocking half of the river mouth, the velocity of the water in the unrestricted half is doubled, keeping a working channel clear of sedimentation and deep enough for large vessels to get through.


Well, if you're right, it would seem to make it even harder to explain why they would choose to remove it.

I've never seen any sign of dredging or dumping operations around that river mouth, and I'm there fairly regularly, though its still very possible I could have missed them.

As I said, large vessels don't, AFAIK, go through. Most of the traffic are raft boats tending offshore oyster rafts, and most of that comes out of Anping. Some of the raft boats out of Anping that are sometimes around the river mouth are fairly big, but they don't draw much, and there doesn't seem to be anywhere or anything to attract them upriver anyway. In addition, the original (narrower) river entrance channel was often obstructed by fixed nets, which would be a problem for larger vessels.
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby *monkey* » 23 May 2012, 15:52

Maybe they figure it restricts the flow of water at typhoon time? Who knows ...

You could go there with a sixpack of Taiwan Beer and have a chat to the bulldozer operator. He probably has no idea why he's doing it either, but he might know somebody who does. :bow:
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Re: Have Bulldozer, Will Bugger About

Postby Ducked » 23 May 2012, 17:48

Long gone.

Plus I don't speak Taiwanese.

Plus the people he knows might not be too keen on satisfying my curiosity, which has been known to kill cats.
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