After last week's excitement over the climactic return of the tides to Ni-les'tun Marsh, the challenge this week was to maintain focus on completing the last details before getting all the heavy equipment out of the marsh. With every high tide the low elevation ground becoming noticeably wetter and softer. Working off a daily punch list of tasks to complete, Knife River brought the southwest levee to final grade, and dressed up the remaining footprints to blend the edges to the interior marsh level. As traffic on haul roads ended, road repair and decommissioning proceeded. A small tidal channel was extended about one hundred feet to facilitate drainage of a low spot, while other low spots were filled in. By the end of the week, most of a 600 foot long nature trail was built up and covered with gravel to provide easy pedestrian access along two small tidal channels, and over 3000 feet of former farm road had been decommissioned. Only a few more hours of final grading are needed to completely obliterate the main farm road that has been the primary travel route into the site for many decades. The higher tides later this month will bring more and more brackish water over more of the marsh surface to begin the process of recovery of the salt marsh. On Wednesday a managment team from Knife River including CEO Bill from Bismark, ND visited the project site and discussed the construction with Refuge staff and Ducks Unlimited engineer Randy Van Hoy. Saturday and Sunday participants of the annual Oregon Shorebird Festival hiked out to the mouth of Fahys Creek with Refuge employees to see the early reaction of birds to the changes here, and to anticipate the flocks they might see using the marsh in the near future as the habitat develops in their favor.
Work on North Bank Lane was focused on the headwalls that will be built at both ends of the pedestrian underpass near our office. Concrete forms were built for the wall footers, and an adjacent drainage culvert was installed. Tidewater Contractors also milled more sections of asphalt off North Bank Lane and removed surcharge from the Redd Creek section. They also and did more grading along the road.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 1:10 PM in Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project