The Outer Dike Begins to Come Down
For those of us familiar with the view over the Ni-les'tun Unit of Bandon Marsh NWR from the U.S. Highway 101 bridge, this week has brought welcome and dramatic changes. The removal of the overhead powerlines and poles that traversed the pastures and river, along with the clearing of trees and brush off the west dike near Fahys Creek, allows a sweeping panorama across the former pastures and up the river valley.
Restoration contractor Knife River spent the week placing more than 100 pieces of large woody debris in six reaches of tidal channel to create fish habitat. They also distributed almost as many sections of decaying logs that are intended to become nurse logs supporting seedling establishment for woody plants, which will extend the existing tidal spruce forest into the marsh. Some of these nurse logs were donated to the refuge by the Coquille Indian Tribe, and others were purchased at cost from Moore Mill Timber company in Bandon. At the same time, other Knife River equipment operators were stripping vegetation off the west dike and the outer dike in preparation for removal. By Friday, the first lowering of the outer dike along the river bank near No Name Creek began. With an eye on the predicted high tides over the next few weeks, the dikes will be narrowed and lowered in stages (lifts), with final lift and tidegate removal scheduled for the lowest high tides of the year during the third week of August. This staging is critical so we can remove the final lift and get all heavy machinery to high ground before the higher tides return. All dike excavation is being constantly monitored by archaeologists look for and protect any cultural resource artifacts/sites that may be uncovered.
Meanwhile Tidewater Contractors is moving forward on North Bank Lane road improvements. By the end of the week all the surcharge on the road grade raise in the Fahys Creek section had been removed and used to elevate the road to the west. Tidewater also began excavating the new driveway for the Refuge office, and buried more conduit for underground utility lines.
This week's activities were observed with great interest by two visiting scholars from China that are here to learn about how we do large-scale habitat restoration. Yingshou Xu and Yifei Jia are from the Beijing Forestry University where they study wetland ecology. In their first week here, they have been involved in doing bird and herptile surveys, invasive plant removal, archaeological research, and mudflat invertebrate sampling. They have been very impressed by the amount of money, equipment, and professional expertise we are bringing to bear on this project. We have been impressed by their enthusiasm, curiosity, broad interests, and stories about how things are done in China. They will be here all through August, and will clearly have many stories (and photos) to share with their Chinese colleagues when they return to China on September 3rd.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 3:34 PM in Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project