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Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region
Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration
Ni-les'tun Unit of Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
These are all of the Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project news updates posted in August, 2010.
Tuesday, 31
The End of August
Marsh restoration work continued at a fast pace last week by Ducks Unlimited (Knife River Corporation). Except for a 50’ section at North Bank Lane, Fahys Creek was diverted from the old straight-lined agricultural ditch that served as the creek for nearly 100 years to the newly constructed meandering stream channel. Once fish were relocated and flows diverted from the old Fahys Creek channel the straight-lined ditch was filled and obliterated. Incredibly, several days after the water was diverted into the new creek sea run cutthroat trout, with sea lice attached indicating they had just moved in from the ocean, were already using the new meandering channel. All major agricultural drainage ditches have now been filled and approximately 98% of the new tidal channels have been constructed. Knife River began to place large woody debris in new tidal channels to serve as habitat for fish and invertebrates and to provide habitat complexity. The design and location of the large woody debris was done by Stan Van de Wetering of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. Randy Van Hoy of Ducks Unlimited did the engineering of the large wood placement. On the last two days of the month work began on restoring the historic Fahys Creek forested wetland (abandoned cranberry bogs) north of North Bank Lane.

Federal Highways Administration (Tidewater Contractors) began replacement of the 54� Fahys Creek culvert with a 15’ by 10’ plated culvert. The job necessitated closing North Bank Lane to all traffic as a massive hole was dug to place the culvert. The job was complicated by the fact that an artesian spring emerged in the bottom of the construction site with a flow rate of ~40gpm. Over 2,000 cubic yards of earth was removed from the site for culvert installation, which was completed today. Bank stabilization and erosion control (Hydro seeding and wattles) along Redd and Fahy creeks road grade raise shoulders was also completed.

On August 25th Doyon Project Services (Michels Direction Crossings) completed casing the entire second bore under the Coquille River with 10� diameter and ½� sidewall steel casing. The 38’ lengths of casing were butt-welded and pulled through the bore. That evening they began to pull the PVC conduit back through the cased bore and completed the job on Thursday. The drilling equipment departed the job site on Friday, but Doyon Project Service and Michels Power continue to work on the powerline undergrounding. The under river bored conduit has been fused to the floodplain trenched conduit and the remaining trench backfilled. The excavation for the south vaults is complete and the vaults will be set soon. Pulling of the electrical cables through the underground conduits should begin next week.

On August 24th the USFWS conducted an aerial photo flight over the project area to document the construction completed to date. Still photography and video was taken during the flight.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 6:29 PM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
Monday, 23
Third Week of August
Last week Tidewater Contractors (contractor to the Federal Highway Administration) continued to lift North Bank Lane near Fahys Creek. Two 36� permanent culverts were installed under the road to allow high floodplain flows east of Fahys Creek. In anticipation of the arrival of the Fahys Creek 15-foot culvert, Tidewater installed a temporary 36� diversion culvert that will pass the Fahys Creek flow around the construction site while the 65-piece culvert is built and installed. To accomplish the large culvert installation, North Bank Lane will be close beginning today and up to August 31st if necessary while the culvert is installed. Tidewater Contractors also placed 3’ of river-run gravel in the Redd Creek culvert to provide fish with a natural streambed through the culvert. Knife River Corporation (contractor to Ducks Unlimited) excavated the new sinuous creek channel up to the Redd Creek culvert and filled the old straight-lined ditch that previously served as the creek channel. Digging of new tidal channels throughout the restoration area occurred last week by Knife River, but was concentrated on the west end of the project area. Almost all major agricultural ditches have been filled now. Dry weather throughout July and August has helped tremendously to dry the work site after the very wet spring.

After nearly two weeks of delay Doyon Government Services and subcontractor Michels Directional Crossing began boring the east bore for the undergrounding of the powerline under the Coquille River. On Saturday evening the boring equipment emerged on the hillside above the south bank of the river and on Sunday they began to back ream the bore and pull in 10� diameter steel casing.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:14 PM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
Tuesday, 17
Tidal Marsh Restoration Delayed Until Summer of 2011
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the completion of the Ni-les’tun tidal marsh restoration project on Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge will be delayed until the summer of 2011. Originally scheduled for completion in September 2010, the project is being delayed a year due to complications in completing the undergrounding of the Coos-Curry Electrical Cooperative transmission line under the Coquille River. “This large restoration project involves three simultaneous major construction projects and thus relies on precision and timely work that is choreographed among three different contractors,� said Roy W. Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The delay in completing the undergrounding of the transmission line has postponed the initiation of the removal of the outer dikes, which must be completed by mid-September during the last low-high tides of the year. “Although we are extremely disappointed that we are not able to complete the restoration this year, it was the right decision to make�, said Lowe. The underground electrical system needs to be installed, tested and secured prior to removal of the existing above ground system and restoration of tidal flows over the refuge, and given the existing delays to date, final testing would not have been possible in the time remaining.

In the meantime, work continues on the North Bank Lane road improvements and interior tidal marsh construction activities. By the end of September the majority of the restoration construction inside the outer dikes will also be completed. Completion of the road improvements has always been planned for the summer of 2011 and now the restoration project will join that schedule.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:10 PM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
Sunday, 15
Second Week of August
Through traffic on lower North Bank Road in the vicinity of Fahys Creek was closed from August 11-13 as raising of the road grade accelerated in this area. A continuous string of truckers working for Tidewater Contractors delivered fill material from the Dew Valley Quarry. Filling and compacting has been nonstop and the roadbed near Fahys Creek is rising rapidly. In addition, the future pedestrian underpass near the Refuge Office was installed under North Bank Lane. The pedestrian underpass is comprised of an 8’ diameter culvert and is located off of the Refuge overlook parking lot. The large structural plate culvert for Fahys Creek is being fabricated in Pennsylvania. Originally scheduled for arrival on August 16th production was delayed and the culvert is now scheduled to arrive on August 23rd. Although filling and compacting of North Bank Lane will continue this week, one lane through traffic with short delays will be allowed. When the Fahys Creek culvert arrives the road will be closed once again from August 23-31 as the flow in Fahys Creek is diverted around the construction site and the large culvert is installed.

By the end of last week Knife River Corporation had completed filling all the major agricultural ditches with spoils from the new tidal channels, and the channel for Fahys Creek was completed except for the upper connection to the existing channel. Fahys Creek channel is the largest channel to be constructed, ranging from 9 to 22 feet wide, and up to 5 feet deep. By the end of next week, we expect to begin shifting Fahys flow into its new channel. Knife River employees have done a great job in constructing the sinuous tidal and creek channels. We are in the process of tallying the totals, but we rescued and relocated thousands of amphibians (mostly rough-skinned newts) out of the old ditches as they were being filled, representing an astounding population of this 6-inch salamander.

Last weekend we installed an automated time-lapse camera on a 30-foot pole to photograph the construction of the lower Fahys Creek channel and filling of ditches. The camera captured dramatic footage of Knife River crews creating the new Fahys Creek channel. The camera will continue to record activities for another 2 weeks and will ultimately be an important segment of a documentary video about the restoration project.

While lots of activity was going on “behind the scenes� field crews for Doyon Government Service and Michels Directional Crossings were idled all week as the east bore continued to be redesigned. 10� diameter steel casing is being shipped to the project site from the mid-west. Work on the east bore and the undergrounding of the electrical transmission line should be reinitiated next week.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 8:36 PM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
Monday, 9
First Week of August
North Bank Lane was opened to through traffic this past week as worked slowed on the final temporary grade raise of Redd Creek. Following the placement of the 10’ culvert the previous week, the road was raised to the overload height where it will be allowed to settle for the next year before being cut down to the final grade. As the work at Redd Creek is nearing completion Tidewater Contractors and their fleet of trucks shifted their efforts to the much longer road grade raise at Fahys Creek. Traffic in this area of North Bank Lane was reduce to a single lane to allow fill material to be placed in a large ditch along the south side of the road. The large 15’ culvert to be placed under the road at Fahys Creek is in route from the manufacturer in Pennsylvania and is scheduled to arrive on August 16th. Placement of the culvert will require temporary diversion of Fahys Creek and personnel with the Western Federal Lands Highway Division and Tidewater Contractors are making final plans for the diversion. The North Bank Lane road closure at Fahys Creek will go into effect on August 11th and the road will remain closed for approximately two weeks to allow for placement of the culvert and raising the road grade. In the interim, all through traffic will be redirect to use Randolph Road, which connects North Bank Lane to U.S. Highway 101.

Efforts by Knife River Corporation to excavate new tidal channels and fill old agricultural ditches accelerated last week. They now have three 6-wheel dump trucks on site and two tracked dump trucks for working in wetter areas. At the end of the week excavation of the new Fahys Creek channel began near North Bank Lane and will proceed to the south. USFWS, Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, and ODFW fisheries biologists continue to monitor filling of ditches and rescue fish and amphibians. On a single day last week, more than 1,500 rough-skinned newts were successfully moved out of the construction area along with lesser numbers of northwestern and Pacific giant salamanders, and red-legged frogs.

Complications continued with the east bore for undergrounding the electrical transmission line under the Coquille River that would not allow the conduit to be successfully pulled through the bore. During the week a redesign of the second bore was developed that will include installation of steel casing the length of the bore. Work is being delayed while the 10� casing is acquired and transported to the site.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 7:47 AM / Category: Ni-les'tun Tidal Marsh Restoration Project
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