Eagle Scout stabilizes bank in Assawoman Wildlife area

Date Published: 
March 7, 2014

Those who have visited Memorial Pond at the Assawoman Wildlife Area in the last six months have probably noticed a big difference in the pond’s bank. The tiered levels now leading down to the water are part of a bank stabilization project conducted by Troop 281 Eagle Scout Jackson Jorss.

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Eagle Scout Jackson Jorss stands by Memorial Pond at the Assawoman Wildlife Area, where he has worked on stabilizing the pond’s bank. Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Eagle Scout Jackson Jorss stands by Memorial Pond at the Assawoman Wildlife Area, where he has worked on stabilizing the pond’s bank. “It is a bank stabilization project, because the land was eroding into the pond. We built five levels to combat that. We made basically stair steps going down into the pond. The first two are gravel, and the rest are dirt.”

Jorss said he got the idea for the project from park director Rob Gano.

“He said a lot of people come down here with their dogs or to fish. He wanted the bank to be more stable,” said Jorss.

“The dogs would swim and then, when they would get out, they would drip onshore and the dirt would go back into the pond. There was gully erosion in several places,” explained Gano. “It was bare and rutted. I thought, going back to my days as a Boy Scout at Camp Rodney, I can remember terraced erosion control projects and they always involved logs that are pinned. I thought, ‘We do all these high-tech things all the time, why not do something more natural?’”

The tiered levels into the pond, measuring more than 40 feet each, are topped with gum trees that were collected on site and flanked by rocks.

“Everything is natural, except for the filter cloth underneath to prevent the dirt from eroding back in the rain,” Jorss explained.

The project took Jorss approximately a year to complete — from September 2012 to September 2013.

“When you do an Eagle Scout project, you have to plan the whole thing out yourself. You have to organize it, plan it, do drawings of it, present before-and-after pictures. It’s like a construction project from start to finish,” explained Jorss’ father, Trip.

With the completion of the project, Jackson Jorss was able to achieve the highest rank in scouting, after having held a leadership position within the troop and earning more than 21 merit badges.

Jackson Jorss said he had never worked on a project like the bank stabilization before but enjoyed it.

“We had to set string lines up and elevations. We had to figure out how we were going to hold all these logs in place,” said Trip Jorss.

“I think where Jackson really showed his leadership was when Trip and I couldn’t figure out what we were doing, and Jackson would step back and say, ‘I think this is how it’s supposed to go,’” added Gano.

Jackson Jorss said it took approximately five Saturdays to physically complete the project. He added that he was grateful for the help of his father, Gano and Wayne Stacey throughout the process.

The 17-year-old Indian River High School senior plans to attend the University of Delaware seed program next year. He added that he has enjoyed the experience, moving up from Cub Scout now to Eagle Scout.

“It has taught me leadership skills and how to grow up. It’s helped me mature over the years. It’s helped me meet new friends and new people. I like it a lot.”

He added that he would recommend Boy Scouts to his friends and hopes to get his future children involved in scouting.

“I hope to get my children involved someday, when I’m older. It was a really good learning experience for me.”