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These are all of the news releases posted in July, 2011.
Friday, 22
Final Stages of Restoration
The excitement is now building as Knife River has begun to mobilize earthmoving equipment this week to the restoration site in preparation for the start of construction on Monday. This week, Stan Van de Wetering, Siletz Tribe fish biologist and monitoring team member, staked out the locations for the placement of over 50 additional logs with root wads that will be installed in the new tidal channels to improve fish habitat. Placement of the logs will be the first component that Knife River will accomplish. These logs will add to the 100 large logs installed last year, and are a bonus as a result of the restoration project completion being postponed until this year.

Meanwhile, Tidewater Contractors have been working on the final phase of North Bank Lane road improvements. They buried conduit and vaults along portions of the road in preparation for the ultimate burial of power and telephone lines, which will reduce bird strike hazards and improve the aesthetics of the Refuge. They have also begun removing the surcharge added to the raised portions of the road last year to get down to the final road grade. The removed material is being used to fill places where the road will be widened.

Work began today on the final stage of the large powerline burial project that crosses the Coquille River through the project site. This weekend, Doyon and its subcontractors will finally remove the overhead lines that cross the former pastures and Coquille River, along with the poles that support them. The underground lines installed last year replaced the aerial lines' function since last October, though the decision was made to leave the poles up through the winter until the new conductors were well tested. Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, the owner of the transmission lines, is satisfied that the underground lines are fully functional, and gave final approval for the removal of the old lines earlier this week. We will all breathe a sigh of relief when this portion of the project is completed in the next few days.

An unseasonable substantial rainfall last weekend caused a welcome interruption in the watering of the plantings at our riparian restoration site. In order to help the trees and shrubs through their first dry season we installed a temporary irrigation system. A gas-powered pump takes water from Fahys Creek and sends it through 500 feet of hose to two portable sprinkler heads that we move around to cover the drier parts of the site. Some of our long-term volunteers have been helping keep the watering going. We have also had other volunteers help us pull scotch broom and other weeds that are appearing in the restoration site, which will be an ongoing process for the next couple years, at least, until the native plants get well established.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 5:13 PM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project

Chinese Biologists Assist Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
This weekend two Chinese biologists will join American colleagues for six weeks at Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Bandon, Oregon. The foreign visitors will assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with a 418-acre tidal marsh restoration project that provides important habitat for a variety of estuarine-dependent fish, birds, and other wildlife. The visiting scientists will live on-site at the refuge with others working on the project.

"We're very proud of our efforts involving many partners and want to share our experience with the Chinese visitors," said Roy W. Lowe, Project Leader at the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. China's coastal wetland habitat is diminishing, and that impacts bird species that breed in Alaska and migrate to China, so it is in our interest to encourage China to take positive steps for preserving coastal wetlands."

Lowe added, "Mr. Yingshou Xu and Mr. Yifei Jia are both trained professionals from the prestigious Beijing Forestry University, and the refuge will benefit by having their perspective on this project." A Chinese student who recently completed an MA in International Environmental Policy Studies in California, Ms. Miao Yu, will travel to Oregon to assist with language translation.

The visit is occurring under the auspices of the Nature Conservation Protocol, an agreement signed in 1986 between the U.S. Department of the Interior and China's State Forestry Administration. The Protocol, which marked its 25th anniversary this year, encourages information exchange and cooperation in wildlife conservation. Cooperation is based on reciprocity, and several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service groups are hosted by Chinese counterparts annually.

The Service's Wildlife Without Borders China program coordinates activities and exchanges related to the Protocol, and is managed by the Arlington, Virginia based Division of International Conservation. Division Chief Herb Raffaele notes the importance of international cooperation for wildlife conservation. "If we do not take advantage of learning from one another, then each country will have to reinvent the wheel and learn from its own trials and errors," said Raffaele. "It can be costly, not only financially, but ecologically as well."

To learn more about the U.S.-China Nature Conservation Protocol and read the 2011-2013 work plan, visit the Wildlife Without Borders China program webpage, http://www.fws.gov/international/DIC/regionalprograms/china/china.html.

Follow the Service's International Affairs program on Twitter @USFWSInternatl, and on Facebook, USFWSInternationalAffairs.

For additional information on the tidal marsh restoration project at Bandon Marsh go to http://www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/bandonmarsh/restoration/index.cfm.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 2:58 PM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
Thursday, 7
Nestucca Bay Refuge closed weekdays from 8/8 - 9/9/2011
Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, including the Pacific View trail and both parking lots, will be closed to the public on weekdays from August 8 through September 9, 2011 to allow construction on Christensen Road.    Christensen Road will be closed at the junction with Highway 101. During this construction period, Christensen Road and the refuge will be open from dawn to dusk on Saturdays and Sundays, and on Labor Day Monday September 5. Heavy equipment will be blocking the road during weekday construction hours, and no traffic will be permitted.  Construction work taking place during this time includes replacement of the Upton Slough culvert with a pre-cast concrete bridge; repair and stabilization of the asphalt road embankment in two locations; and scraping and regraveling of the upper road.
 
The replacement of the Upton Slough culvert with a pre-cast concrete bridge near the junction of Christensen Road and Highway 101 is intended to restore fish habitat by increasing the waterway cross section of Upton Slough (a tributary to Little Nestucca River and Nestucca Bay) from 12 square feet to 40 square feet with a natural soil bottom and stream banks.  This project will allow for the re-establishment of the natural morphology of the creek in this location and will facilitate salmonid passage. Upton Slough, which drains a 681-acre watershed, is a partially channelized stream emptying into Nestucca Bay.  This stream channel currently passes underneath Christensen Road through a 48� concrete culvert, which restricts flow to 12 square feet.  The stream has flooded and overtopped the overlying refuge entrance road during very heavy rainfall.  Two tide gates, one of which is “fish-friendly�, are located at the north end of Upton Slough at its terminus with the Little Nestucca River and Nestucca Bay. Upton Slough and the associated pasture ditch system allow fish to enter from Nestucca Bay, and the channel is within critical habitat designated for threatened coho salmon (Oregon Coast ESU).  
 
The road embankment project will stabilize the edge of an asphalt road by widening the embankment fill about two to three feet with riprap and crushed aggregate.  This project is necessary to prevent further deterioration and subsequent failure of the asphalt road edge.   The upper road, which has a gravel surface from the lower to the upper parking lot, has not been regraveled since its construction in 2008 and is deteriorating.  Scraping and regraveling is needed to continue to provide a safe, comfortable driving surface for visitors.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 1:36 PM / Category: Nestucca Bay NWR
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Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, 2127 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR, 97365
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Site last updated March 8, 2011