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Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region
Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration
Ni-les'tun Unit of Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
These are all of the Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project news updates posted in September, 2010.
Friday, 24
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 / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
Friday, 17
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 / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
Friday, 10
Shorebirds, Herons, and Geese Starting to Return
Ducks Unlimited spent the last week and a half finishing the details of the marsh restoration work. All of the 80 large logs were anchored in the tidal channels to enhance fish habitat; the last segments of channel were connected; and soil that was damaged by heavy equipment was repaired. The marsh feels quite different as large machines are leaving the site, and wildlife begins to reclaim it. Migrating shorebirds have been flying low over the new channels attracted to the bare soils; raccoons and great blue herons are foraging along the channels; mallards are hiding behind the channel logs; deer tracks are everywhere; and Canada geese have been feeding on seedlings and root sprouts that are popping up in disturbed sites after the first of the fall rains came down.

Activity has shifted to the Smith Tract where forested wetland that was long ago converted to cranberry bogs along Fahys Creek will be restored. Thousands of yards of sandy soils are currently being moved to shape a new stream corridor through the old agricultural site. Top soils have been salvaged along with native wetland plants that reclaimed the bog since the USFWS acquisition and abandonment 9 years ago. These soils and plants will be redistributed and planted after the site is contoured. The USFWS is counting on beavers to play their role as ecological engineers and enhance habitat after the site has been revegetated.

North Bank Lane near Fahys Creek continues to be elevated under the direction of the Federal Highways Administration, and is nearly to its design height. The large culvert for Fahys Creek under the road received more than three feet of river stone in the bottom to create a natural stream bed, and a joint effort of Tidewater, Knife River, FWS and ODFW built a rock-lined slope to transition the stream down about four feet from the upstream channel bottom to the culvert bottom. This structure will control the erosion of the stream bed while maintaining fish passage.

The effort by Doyon Project Services to underground the Coos Curry Electric Cooperative overhead line continued with one set of three power cables being pulled through the underground conduits. Crews started the removal of the marsh mats and steel plates used to construct a road through the marsh.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 12:57 PM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
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Site last updated March 8, 2011