Last Week Before the Tides Return!
In a dramatic moment on Monday, Knife River equipment operators unearthed and pulled out the Fahys Creek culvert and tidegate at low tide, and filled the remaining hole to finally end the flow of Fahys Creek through the old artificial creek mouth. The flow of Fahys Creek then shifted to the new temporary tidegate installed last week and out across the mudflats in the historic location where the creek met the Coquille River. Interestingly, hundreds of shorebirds lingered this week feeding on the mudflats below the temporary tidegate as though they were impatiently anticipating their move into the new habitat areas we are creating.
Work this week was focused on setting the stage for the removal of the outer dike system and return of the tides next week. Work included finishing the fortification of the east and west protection dikes; narrowing and lowering the dikes over the tidegates of Redd and Noname creeks; fine-tuning the drainage in the marsh interior; and filling in the newly abandoned lower Fahys Creek channel. The excitement about the imminent return of the tides next week is tempered by our anxiety of making sure everything that needs to be completed before the final breach is actually accomplished. In tribute to the outstanding team of professionals working on this huge project, the constant communication among USFWS staff, Ducks Unlimited engineer, Knife River foreman and operators, and our science team has kept the process adaptable to any unexpected problems, while staying ahead of schedule. As currently planned, full tidal flow should be restored to the Ni-lesâ€™tun Unit by the end of next week!
Progress continues on the North Bank Lane improvements as well, as Tidewater Contractors increased their work hours this week. Roadwork included installing more underground utility conduit and vaults, removing surcharge from the North Bank Lane grade raise at Redd Creek and placing the fill on the road west of Fahys Creek. Work on widening the roadbed in several areas also occurred.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 7:30 PM in Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project