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Viewing category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
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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
September 10, 2010
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
August 31, 2010
The End of August
Marsh restoration work continued at a fast pace last week by Ducks Unlimited (Knife River Corporation). Except for a 50’ section at North Bank Lane, Fahys Creek was diverted from the old straight-lined agricultural ditch that served as the creek for nearly 100 years to the newly constructed meandering stream channel. Once fish were relocated and flows diverted from the old Fahys Creek channel the straight-lined ditch was filled and obliterated. Incredibly, several days after the water was diverted into the new creek sea run cutthroat trout, with sea lice attached indicating they had just moved in from the ocean, were already using the new meandering channel. All major agricultural drainage ditches have now been filled and approximately 98% of the new tidal channels have been constructed. Knife River began to place large woody debris in new tidal channels to serve as habitat for fish and invertebrates and to provide habitat complexity. The design and location of the large woody debris was done by Stan Van de Wetering of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. Randy Van Hoy of Ducks Unlimited did the engineering of the large wood placement. On the last two days of the month work began on restoring the historic Fahys Creek forested wetland (abandoned cranberry bogs) north of North Bank Lane.

Federal Highways Administration (Tidewater Contractors) began replacement of the 54� Fahys Creek culvert with a 15’ by 10’ plated culvert. The job necessitated closing North Bank Lane to all traffic as a massive hole was dug to place the culvert. The job was complicated by the fact that an artesian spring emerged in the bottom of the construction site with a flow rate of ~40gpm. Over 2,000 cubic yards of earth was removed from the site for culvert installation, which was completed today. Bank stabilization and erosion control (Hydro seeding and wattles) along Redd and Fahy creeks road grade raise shoulders was also completed.

On August 25th Doyon Project Services (Michels Direction Crossings) completed casing the entire second bore under the Coquille River with 10� diameter and ½� sidewall steel casing. The 38’ lengths of casing were butt-welded and pulled through the bore. That evening they began to pull the PVC conduit back through the cased bore and completed the job on Thursday. The drilling equipment departed the job site on Friday, but Doyon Project Service and Michels Power continue to work on the powerline undergrounding. The under river bored conduit has been fused to the floodplain trenched conduit and the remaining trench backfilled. The excavation for the south vaults is complete and the vaults will be set soon. Pulling of the electrical cables through the underground conduits should begin next week.

On August 24th the USFWS conducted an aerial photo flight over the project area to document the construction completed to date. Still photography and video was taken during the flight.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 6:29 PM
August 23, 2010
Third Week of August
Last week Tidewater Contractors (contractor to the Federal Highway Administration) continued to lift North Bank Lane near Fahys Creek. Two 36� permanent culverts were installed under the road to allow high floodplain flows east of Fahys Creek. In anticipation of the arrival of the Fahys Creek 15-foot culvert, Tidewater installed a temporary 36� diversion culvert that will pass the Fahys Creek flow around the construction site while the 65-piece culvert is built and installed. To accomplish the large culvert installation, North Bank Lane will be close beginning today and up to August 31st if necessary while the culvert is installed. Tidewater Contractors also placed 3’ of river-run gravel in the Redd Creek culvert to provide fish with a natural streambed through the culvert. Knife River Corporation (contractor to Ducks Unlimited) excavated the new sinuous creek channel up to the Redd Creek culvert and filled the old straight-lined ditch that previously served as the creek channel. Digging of new tidal channels throughout the restoration area occurred last week by Knife River, but was concentrated on the west end of the project area. Almost all major agricultural ditches have been filled now. Dry weather throughout July and August has helped tremendously to dry the work site after the very wet spring.

After nearly two weeks of delay Doyon Government Services and subcontractor Michels Directional Crossing began boring the east bore for the undergrounding of the powerline under the Coquille River. On Saturday evening the boring equipment emerged on the hillside above the south bank of the river and on Sunday they began to back ream the bore and pull in 10� diameter steel casing.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:14 PM
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