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Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
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Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration
Ni-les'tun Unit of Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
Viewing category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
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May 25, 2011
Restoration of Fahys Creek to be Expanded
Delay in completing the undergrounding of the transmission lines under the Coquille River and floodplain last summer forced us move the completion of the tidal marsh restoration project to this summer. Initially a disappointment, the delay has allowed us to expand the restoration work for coho salmon and sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. Working with the USFWS's Coastal Program, ODFW, and Ducks Unlimited, the restoration of Fahys Creek is being extended onto private lands west of Highway 101. A step-pool structure will be built at the culvert outlet on the east side of the highway to allow salmonid passage under the highway and up Fahys Creek. The current 36" fall and plunge pool is a barrier to fish passage and blocks movement upstream. West of the highway the stream channel will be redirected back to the natural historic channel and away from an artificially constructed portion of the creek. This will allow fish passage from the Coquille River, all the way up to and past Fahys Lake.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 10:58 AM

Restoration at the Former Cranberry Bogs
Earlier this spring, the 10-acre former cranberry bogs on the Anaflor Smith tract of the refuge was replanted with native vegetation to begin restoring the area to forested wetland and riparian habitat. A contract crew working for Ducks Unlimited planted 1,227 trees and 10,130 shrubs in this area. A beaver exclusion fence was erected by refuge staff adjacent to the newly constructed stream channel through the former bogs to prevent beaver from feeding on and destroying newly planted streamside vegetation. Beaver have already begun impounding the stream channel at the south end of the former bogs creating good pool habitat for wood ducks, shorebirds, fish and amphibians. Fisheries biologists with the USFWS Columbia River Fisheries Program Office have been conducting pre-restoration monitoring and have found juvenile coho salmon present throughout the stream channels and sloughs constructed last year even though the outer dike and water control structures are still in place.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 10:57 AM
October 30, 2010
Last Blog Post for 2010
Last week the USFWS spread seed on the disturbed areas associated with agricultural ditch filling and in areas where watershed divides are being established. The seed will germinate this year and provide ground cover and root mass prior to next years tidal flooding. In addition to the seeding, natural sprouting has occurred over much of the disturbed areas attracting hundreds of western Canada geese to the restoration area to feed on the newly sprouting grasses. The effort to reconstruct and raise North Bank Lane, under the direction of the Federal Highways Administration, continued this week with the placement of a temporary layer of asphalt over the fill areas at Fahys and Redd creeks. The blacktop was installed to enhance road safety for motorists this winter/spring, reduce sediment runoff, and to reduce maintenance related to leaving the road graveled. Doyon Project Services continued work this week on the south vault location to remediate the area of the bores and where the Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative powerline was connected from overhead to underground. The boreholes were filled with grout to reduce water transport along the bores.

Only minor work remains to be done this fall associated with the restoration, powerline undergrounding, and North Bank Lane road improvements. Work will be suspended for the winter and early spring before resuming again next year. This update constitutes the final blog post this year. Please check back next year, as the blog will begin again when construction resumes on the project.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 3:44 PM
October 13, 2010
Winding Down
As winter approaches all aspects of the restoration project are rapidly winding down and will soon be concluded for 2010. The following is a summary of the work completed over the past 10 days.

Doyon Project Services and sub-contractor Michels Power continued site cleanup on the underground transmission line on the south side of the Coquille River . The H-poles near the south vault were removed as well as the overhead transmission lines from this location down to the south bank of the Coquille River. The remaining poles and overhead transmission lines will be removed next summer during the final phase of the project. Cleanup at the north vault was completed and erosion control mulch and seeding has been placed on disturbed areas.

The Federal Highways Administration and Tidewater Contractors completed the grade raises of North Bank Lane near Fahys Creek and Redd Creek. The side slopes of the grade raises have been cleaned and smoothed and additional erosion control wattles placed at the base of the fills. Erosion control mulch and seeding is currently being placed on side slopes and disturbed areas. The old Redd Creek culvert under North Bank Lane was removed and backfilled and an old cattle underpass near at Riverview Kennel entrance was also removed and backfilled. Tidewater Contractors is currently working to install the final gravel lift on the grade raise portions of North Bank Lane that will serve as the temporary road surface until the road is paved next summer.

The USFWS acquired 500 lbs of annual rye grass seed to place on unvegetated disturbed areas within the marsh restoration project site for erosion control. Many of the disturbed areas have already begun to naturally revegetate in response to fall rains. . Teresa Molino, a PhD candidate, has begun her research on archeological aspects of past Coquille Indian use of the restoration area. The USFWS and Ducks Unlimited are currently developing plans to extend the restoration project up Fahys Creek west of U.S. Highway 101 in cooperation with Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. If this portion of the project is done it will provide anadromous fish passage at two location where it is currently blocked including the culvert under Highway 101 and a small dame feature further upstream.

The USFWS conducted an aerial photoreconnaissance of the project site on October 12, 2010. Some of the photos from that flight are included here.

Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 10:36 AM
October 4, 2010
Last Week of September
After rigorous testing of the continuity of the underground cables and termination connections at the vaults, construction on the underground electrical transmission system under the Coquille River and Floodplain was completed. Early Tuesday morning electrical power was disconnected from 1:30 am until 3:00 am to allow crews from Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative and Michels Power to perform the transfer from overhead to underground transmission lines. Lineman crews worked on both ends of the project site simultaneously to minimize the time of the power outage. At 3:00 am the underground transmission line was successfully energized by Doyon Project Services. Once the underground line was energized, efforts then focused on demobilizing and stabilization of the existing overhead line that is scheduled to be removed next summer.

During the week the USFWS continued to monitor bird use in the restoration area. Flocks of Canada geese are now using the area for loafing and feeding. In addition, raptors (e.g., white-tailed kites, northern harriers) are now using the area for foraging since the large equipment used in restoration have been removed. Short green grass is germinating in the disturbed areas and provides forage for both geese and the small rodents that the kites and harriers feed on. The hydro seeding of the former cranberry bog area is already sprouting and attracting Canada geese. Other wildlife observations in that area include killdeer and an uncommon blue-winged teal. Beaver have now begun to move up into the newly constructed Fahys Creek channel that was just completed the week before. We expect to see a series of beaver dams in the new channel in the future.

Tidewater Construction, under the guidance of Federal Highways Administration, continued bringing fill material this week for the raising of the Fahys Creek section of North Bank Lane. Tidewater smoothed the road edges and also installed erosion control wattles/berms along the road fill in preparation for fall and winter rains.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:34 PM
September 24, 2010
Tidal Marsh Restoration Construction Completed for 2010
On Tuesday morning Ducks Unlimited engineer Randy Van Hoy directed a crew with Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative in the placement of new power poles and transmission lines outside of the newly restored creek and wetland area on the Smith Tract of Bandon Marsh NWR. The powerline formerly ran through the cranberry bogs that were present in this location. The cranberry bogs and surrounding area were recontoured last week into a floodplain wetland. Once the powerline was relocated and re-energized, Ducks Unlimited (Knife River Corporation) diverted Fahys Creek on the north end of the Smith Tract from the old ditched channel into the newly constructed "natural" channel configuration. This removed the stream flow from the straight-lined agricultural ditch where it had been located for many decades. Approximately 200' of the old ditch was filled and the remaining ditch will remain to serve as off channel wetland and wildlife habitat. As Fahys Creek was diverted USFWS personnel together with fisheries biologists from the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians were present to capture and relocate any remaining fish and amphibians from the de-watered agricultural ditch.

With the diversion of Fahys Creek into the new meandering channel through the Smith Tract, restoration for 2010 was almost complete and on Wednesday, Knife River Corporation demobilized from the refuge. They will return next summer to complete the restoration project. The final task to complete this year's wetland restoration activities was to reduce erosion by establishing a vegetative cover on the disturbed ground in the former cranberry bogs. Approximately 4 acres of disturbed ground were hydro-seeded on Thursday with a mixture of native grasses to create this cover.

Work on the undergrounding of the Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative powerline through the marsh and under the river continued all week by Doyon Project Services (Michels Power). The underground cables were terminated to newly installed powerpoles, and vault lids were installed. The systems will be tested early next week and plans are being finalized for switching the power from the existing above ground system to the new underground system.

Federal Highways Administration and their contractor Tidewater Construction continued work on the raising of the Fahys Creek section of North Bank Lane this week after a brief delay in this effort. Tidewater also began cleanup operations on the job site as they edge closer to shutting down work for the winter.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 2:39 PM
September 17, 2010
Fall Rains Arrive on the Oregon Coast
Work continued this week by Ducks Unlimited (Knife River Corporation) on the Smith Tract of Bandon Marsh NWR, where we are restoring about 1100 feet of riparian habitat by putting Fahys Creek back in a "natural" channel configuration through an abandoned cranberry bog. On Monday, the cranberry water diversion pond that served as prime habitat for exotic bullfrogs was filled in. All week, USFWS and ODFW biologists have been relocating native fish (e.g., cutthroat trout, coho salmon, sculpin) from the ditched section of Fahys Creek that will be de-watered when the creek is routed into the new creek. Between trapping and electrofishing efforts supervised by ODFW, we have moved more than 400 native fish (mostly coho and coastal cutthroat trout) into restored stream channel downstream. We will continue to remove fish throughout the stream diversion process.

Meanwhile, Knife River regraded the entire 12-acre bog site, spread topsoil that had been salvaged, and is finishing excavating the new stream channel today. One interesting discovery during the channel excavation is numerous buried root crowns and logs from the forested wetland that once occupied this site. We are keeping the largest of these in the new channel as fish habitat elements, in addition to the 20 large trees we have brought in for placement in the channel. In preparation of the creek flowing in a natural meander crews with Coos Curry Electric Cooperative started to place new power poles outside of the newly restored creek and wetland.

Federal Highways Administration and their contractor Tidewater Contractors continued work on the raising of the Fahys Creek section of North Bank Lane this week, and it is nearing its final grade for this year. Doyon Project Services and their subcontractor Michels Power spent this week completing the pulling of electrical cable under the river within conduit, back filling the terminus vaults, placing terminus poles and conduit, and pulling all the temporary road plates out of the marsh and stockpiling them for loading onto trucks.

At the end of the week, as this is being written, a steady rain signals the end of the dry season as it nourishes the recovery of the marsh plants that were trampled by this summer's restoration activities.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 3:56 PM
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