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Viewing category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
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August 17, 2010
Tidal Marsh Restoration Delayed Until Summer of 2011
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the completion of the Ni-les’tun tidal marsh restoration project on Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge will be delayed until the summer of 2011. Originally scheduled for completion in September 2010, the project is being delayed a year due to complications in completing the undergrounding of the Coos-Curry Electrical Cooperative transmission line under the Coquille River. “This large restoration project involves three simultaneous major construction projects and thus relies on precision and timely work that is choreographed among three different contractors,� said Roy W. Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The delay in completing the undergrounding of the transmission line has postponed the initiation of the removal of the outer dikes, which must be completed by mid-September during the last low-high tides of the year. “Although we are extremely disappointed that we are not able to complete the restoration this year, it was the right decision to make�, said Lowe. The underground electrical system needs to be installed, tested and secured prior to removal of the existing above ground system and restoration of tidal flows over the refuge, and given the existing delays to date, final testing would not have been possible in the time remaining.

In the meantime, work continues on the North Bank Lane road improvements and interior tidal marsh construction activities. By the end of September the majority of the restoration construction inside the outer dikes will also be completed. Completion of the road improvements has always been planned for the summer of 2011 and now the restoration project will join that schedule.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:10 PM
August 15, 2010
Second Week of August
Through traffic on lower North Bank Road in the vicinity of Fahys Creek was closed from August 11-13 as raising of the road grade accelerated in this area. A continuous string of truckers working for Tidewater Contractors delivered fill material from the Dew Valley Quarry. Filling and compacting has been nonstop and the roadbed near Fahys Creek is rising rapidly. In addition, the future pedestrian underpass near the Refuge Office was installed under North Bank Lane. The pedestrian underpass is comprised of an 8’ diameter culvert and is located off of the Refuge overlook parking lot. The large structural plate culvert for Fahys Creek is being fabricated in Pennsylvania. Originally scheduled for arrival on August 16th production was delayed and the culvert is now scheduled to arrive on August 23rd. Although filling and compacting of North Bank Lane will continue this week, one lane through traffic with short delays will be allowed. When the Fahys Creek culvert arrives the road will be closed once again from August 23-31 as the flow in Fahys Creek is diverted around the construction site and the large culvert is installed.

By the end of last week Knife River Corporation had completed filling all the major agricultural ditches with spoils from the new tidal channels, and the channel for Fahys Creek was completed except for the upper connection to the existing channel. Fahys Creek channel is the largest channel to be constructed, ranging from 9 to 22 feet wide, and up to 5 feet deep. By the end of next week, we expect to begin shifting Fahys flow into its new channel. Knife River employees have done a great job in constructing the sinuous tidal and creek channels. We are in the process of tallying the totals, but we rescued and relocated thousands of amphibians (mostly rough-skinned newts) out of the old ditches as they were being filled, representing an astounding population of this 6-inch salamander.

Last weekend we installed an automated time-lapse camera on a 30-foot pole to photograph the construction of the lower Fahys Creek channel and filling of ditches. The camera captured dramatic footage of Knife River crews creating the new Fahys Creek channel. The camera will continue to record activities for another 2 weeks and will ultimately be an important segment of a documentary video about the restoration project.

While lots of activity was going on “behind the scenes� field crews for Doyon Government Service and Michels Directional Crossings were idled all week as the east bore continued to be redesigned. 10� diameter steel casing is being shipped to the project site from the mid-west. Work on the east bore and the undergrounding of the electrical transmission line should be reinitiated next week.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 8:36 PM
August 9, 2010
First Week of August
North Bank Lane was opened to through traffic this past week as worked slowed on the final temporary grade raise of Redd Creek. Following the placement of the 10’ culvert the previous week, the road was raised to the overload height where it will be allowed to settle for the next year before being cut down to the final grade. As the work at Redd Creek is nearing completion Tidewater Contractors and their fleet of trucks shifted their efforts to the much longer road grade raise at Fahys Creek. Traffic in this area of North Bank Lane was reduce to a single lane to allow fill material to be placed in a large ditch along the south side of the road. The large 15’ culvert to be placed under the road at Fahys Creek is in route from the manufacturer in Pennsylvania and is scheduled to arrive on August 16th. Placement of the culvert will require temporary diversion of Fahys Creek and personnel with the Western Federal Lands Highway Division and Tidewater Contractors are making final plans for the diversion. The North Bank Lane road closure at Fahys Creek will go into effect on August 11th and the road will remain closed for approximately two weeks to allow for placement of the culvert and raising the road grade. In the interim, all through traffic will be redirect to use Randolph Road, which connects North Bank Lane to U.S. Highway 101.

Efforts by Knife River Corporation to excavate new tidal channels and fill old agricultural ditches accelerated last week. They now have three 6-wheel dump trucks on site and two tracked dump trucks for working in wetter areas. At the end of the week excavation of the new Fahys Creek channel began near North Bank Lane and will proceed to the south. USFWS, Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, and ODFW fisheries biologists continue to monitor filling of ditches and rescue fish and amphibians. On a single day last week, more than 1,500 rough-skinned newts were successfully moved out of the construction area along with lesser numbers of northwestern and Pacific giant salamanders, and red-legged frogs.

Complications continued with the east bore for undergrounding the electrical transmission line under the Coquille River that would not allow the conduit to be successfully pulled through the bore. During the week a redesign of the second bore was developed that will include installation of steel casing the length of the bore. Work is being delayed while the 10� casing is acquired and transported to the site.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 7:47 AM
July 31, 2010
North Bank Lane Rises
Lower North Bank Lane was closed to traffic this week to facilitate rising of the road grade at Redd Creek. A continuous stream of double dump trucks and single belly-dump trucks delivered nearly 600 loads of fill material raising the road bed approximately 7’. On Thursday and Friday the 10’ culvert was placed in the road fill at the historic stream location of Redd Creek. The culvert is sized to allow 3’ of streambed material to be placed in the culvert providing a natural streambed for passage of anadromous fish such as coho salmon and cutthroat trout. Redd creek is currently channelized to the west side of the floodplain with a small culvert inhabiting fish passage. A new sinuous stream channel will be excavated to the culvert and the stream diverted into the new channel later in August. On Friday, Tidewater Contractors shifted their focus to begin the initial efforts to raise North Bank Lane near Fahys Creek.

Knife River Corporation continued digging new tidal channels and filling agricultural ditches. A second crew was brought in this week, but equipment breakdowns slowed the effort to a single crew much of the week. Technical issues with the transmission line boring brought this effort to a halt much of the week, but on Friday the issues were resolved and the boring continued. The east bore emerged on the hill above the south bank of the Coquille River on Friday and back reaming of the bore is underway.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 12:09 PM
July 17, 2010
West Bore Completed
Technical difficulties continued through the week slowing progress on the west bore under the Coquille River. On Friday the bore was finally completed and today the three conduits that will eventually carry the electrical transmission lines were pulled through the bore from the top of the hill on the south side of the river to the bore location on the north bank of the Coquille River. On Monday, the drilling rig will be repositioned to the east and construction of the east bore will begin.

During the week we prepared for the start of tidal channel excavation that will begin next week by intensifying fish salvage operations in the agricultural ditches that will receive the channel spoils. Due to the wet spring and other complications, there are coho salmon, coastal cutthroat trout and a variety of small non-game fish and salamanders in some of these ditches that connect with streams. We seined and set hoop net traps in these ditches to capture and relocate these fish and amphibians out of harm's way. We will continue to remove fish and amphibians as necessary until these ditches are filled.

Meanwhile, ecological monitoring proceeded this week with regular bird surveys, and measurements were taken on the Surface Elevation Tables (SET) installed last year by USGS. These devices are designed to detect millimeter scale changes in the elevation of the marsh surface, and will yield valuable information about the response of the marsh to sea-level rise, as well as short-term responses to restoration activities. We expect the sediment that will be carried in from the Coquille River on daily tides to settle in the marsh and gradually raise the surface elevation. We also have SET stations in the Bandon Marsh unit that will allow us to compare surface changes at Ni-les'tun restoration site with an undisturbed marsh.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 8:05 PM
July 12, 2010
Boring Continues
Work continued this week on boring under the Coquille River and up the hillside on the south side of the the river. Progress on the west bore slowed, as unanticipated rock formations were encountered necessitating switching to a rock drill head. Precision drilling with the larger rock bit was difficult so work was suspended while a smaller rock drill was retrieved from southern California. With the smaller rock drill the west bore successfully emerged from the ground at the planned south vault area on Saturday morning. Today, they will begin cleaning and enlarging the bore in preparation for installation of the conduits.

During the past week Ducks Unlimited staff continued with GPS surveying and staking the 5 miles of tidal channels to be constructed. On Thursday, the pre-construction meeting with Knife River, Ducks Unlimited and Refuge staff was held at the Refuge office in preparation for Knife River beginning construction activities associated with the marsh restoration. On Saturday, the Coos County Road Department began vegetation mowing on the shoulders of North Bank Lane through the project area to facilitate construction activities.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 1:47 PM
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