The Last Regular Blog Post
The last week of September saw Tidewater Contractors scurry around trying to complete all major construction associated with the North Bank Lane road improvements prior to the October 1st dedication. Thursday September 29th dawned sunny and warm with the temp climbing above 70°F during the afternoon. This was a perfect day for the contractor to paint the stripes on the 3.5 miles of improved roadway. Bark mulch containing seed was blown onto exposed road banks and cuts throughout the project area on the 29th and 30th. On September 30th Tidewater and its sub-contractor rushed to complete the walkways and stairs associated with the pedestrian underpass at the refuge office and clean up all material along North Bank Lane. Concrete was poured in the morning hours on both sides of the underpass and near the refuge office as time ran out for completing work prior to the dedication the following day. By late the next morning, October 1st, the concrete had cured enough to allow foot traffic to use the walkways.
The high tides during the last week of September flooded the lower marsh areas and pushed tidal flows up the channels all the way to the marsh view trail near the overlook. A passing storm front on Friday September 30th brought with it thousands of white-fronted geese and lesser numbers of migrating cackling Canada geese. Geese were still passing overhead after dusk. The following morning found both white-fronted geese and cackling Canada geese resting on the new marsh. Approximately 200 snow geese circled the new marsh but did not land, and at least one sandhill crane, a rare bird for the Oregon coast, was heard passing over the marsh high up in the clouds. These sights and sounds proved to be a grand start to the dedication day.
The official dedication started off with a private luncheon hosted by Ducks Unlimited at the Bandon Community Center. Approximately 170 invitees and guests attended the luncheon, including partners, friends, families, employees and dignitaries. Tom Dwyer, Director of Conservation for Ducks Unlimited in the Pacific Northwest, Rowan Gould, Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Roy Lowe, Project Leader of the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge spoke at the luncheon. A four-minute teaser video of the restoration project produced by Narrative Labs was shown at the luncheon. A full version of the video will be produced at a later date. You can view the video teaser at http://www.oregonstreetstudios.com/BandonSM.html
The public dedication ceremony took place on the Refuge at the Ni-les'tun Marsh Overlook area. Parking was not available on site so attendees parked at the Beach Parking Lot in Bullards Beach State Park and were shuttled from there to the Refuge. We were extremely fortunate as the rain quit about 45 minutes before the ceremony started and did not return until well after the event ended. The ceremony included an invocation by Don Ivy, Cultural Resources Program Coordinator for the Coquille Indian Tribe, and a traditional youth feather dance was performed in full regalia by the Coquille Indian Tribe to welcome the return of the tides to this traditional hunting and fishing ground. Other speakers at the event included Roy Lowe; Tom Dwyer; Rowan Gould; Ed Shepard, BLM State Director for OR & WA; Clara Conner, Division Engineer for the Federal Highway Administration; Ken Bierly, Deputy Director of OWEB; Robyn Thorson, Regional Director of the USFWS; Pacific Region; Tom Younker, Tribal Council and Elder, Coquille Indian Tribe; and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio. During the ceremony the Refuge surprised Congressman DeFazio by announcing the dedication of the Ni-les'tun viewing deck in his honor for all of the support he has given to Bandon Marsh and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuges over the past 20 years. The viewing deck is now officially known as the Representative Peter DeFazio Marsh Overlook and a bronze plaque will be installed there soon. It was a nice way to finish off a grand day.
This constitutes the last regular blog post for the restoration project. Please check back from time to time as we will provide updates when something significant happens or is seen. You can also follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usfwsoregoncoast)
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 2:17 PM in Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project