A Marsh Reborn!
Early Monday morning a crowd assembled at the mouth of Redd Creek to witness the removal of the tidegate. The work by Knife River employees began during the morning low tide to keep turbidity from entering the river. Work progressed as the tide began to rise and at precisely 10:46 a.m. a small coffer dam was breached and tidal flow surged into the new mouth of Redd Creek and began flowing upstream into the marsh. This event marked a pivotal week in the restoration project and was witnessed by Knife River crews, Refuge staff and volunteers, staff with Ducks Unlimited and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, archaeologists with Byram Archaeological Consulting, Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Historic Preservation Office, and our visiting Chinese colleagues. The restoration of the Redd Creek portion of the project came off precisely as planned. On Tuesday morning crews reassembled at the mouth of Noname Creek for a repeat performance at this location as a low fog hung over the river and ground. The removal of the tidegate and final excavation of the new creek mouth at Noname Creek went off without a hitch. Later in the day Knife River Crews relocated to the north end of the west dike and began removing the dike down to the final grade. Removal of the north end of the west dike continued all day Wednesday. On Thursday morning Knife River crews began removing the temporary tidegate on Fahys Creek and excavated the new creek mouth down to an elevation of -1'. This work was again done around the low and incoming tide to push any turbidity created up into the new marsh. Big smiles were seen on everyone's faces as the tidal flow pushed through the creek mouth and began to flood into the new marsh. This marked the return of lower Fahys Creek to the historic location where it existed more than 100 years ago. Spoil from the dike removal and creek mouth excavation was used to fill the former artificial Fahys Creek channel. In a moving event at 3:25 p.m. as high tide approached, seven members of the Coquille Indian Tribe paddled through Fahys Creek and into the marsh in a large ceremonial canoe as other tribal members watched from shore. This marked the first time the tribe had paddled a canoe in the Ni-les'tun marsh in more than 140 years! Later as the canoe disappeared down river an osprey splashed down in the water in Fahys Creek submerging all but its wing tips. As it rose from the water with a fish in its talons everyone watching cheered and clapped.
On Friday and Saturday Knife River crews removed the remainder of the west dike, filled and capped the former artificial Fahys Creek channel, and began final removal of the outer levee in the SW corner of the project area.
During the week Tidewater Contractors was involved with a number of projects associated with the North Bank Lane improvement project. Installation of underground utility conduit and vaults continued and replacement of drainage culverts throughout the project area occurred. On Friday, the new entrance road to the Refuge office was roughed-in and the former entrance road was decommissioned. Spoil from the new entrance road cut was used to achieve finished elevation of a portion of the North Bank Lane grade raise at Fahys Creek.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 8:52 PM in Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project