Thursday, September 10, 2015

Discovery Bay Construction Ends

Well, as usual, construction season has been so busy we have been remiss in keeping you all posted on happenings. This summer’s work at Snow Creek Estuary wrapped up August 27th. The project went off very well and now we await the growth of the salt grasses that will populate the tidal areas and look forward to planting the spoils pile with volunteer and student help! Here are some pics of the construction process.

Geese were our constant companions, foraging on the new ground.

The excavators worked from "swamp mats" to keep from sinking in the soft soils while cutting grade.

Trees that had grown up on the manmade creek berms were cut and sold for pulp and milling.

On Saturday September 5th I stopped through the site with Chrissy, my wife, to look for fish. And boy was I surprised to find three summer chum hanging under a logjam we built two weeks before and spawning right before our eyes!

On a separate visit, I joined US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to observe other changes Maynard has taken on. We saw 45 great blue herons eating fish out of Discovery Bay waters, then spooked a golden eagle from a roosting spot and it swooped above our heads. This was interesting given the USFWS grant that the Salmon Coalition used to implement a portion of the project looked closely as bird usage of area wetlands.

That's all for now.

Kevin Long, Project Manager

Monday, July 27, 2015

Snow Creek Estuary Restoration Project

Construction has begun once again! (Come to think of it, it never stopped.) NOSC just completed the construction of a new septic system for the Valley View Motel to replace the field we intend to remove along the shores of Snow Creek in Summer 2016 or 2017. We have been at construction with 3 different contractors on 4 different Discovery Bay  projects for 15 months!

 For over 15 years the North Olympic Salmon Coalition and our partners have been implementing actions in the lower Salmon and Snow Creek watershed in an effort to restore the ecosystem which supports ESA listed Summer Chum Salmon, ESA listed steelhead, coho, and cutthroat trout. This summer we take on the removal of 1465 linear feet of railroad grade between Salmon and Snow Creeks and to the west of Snow Creek. The railroad grade bisects the entire estuary complex and heavily impacts ecosystem processes needed for a healthy estuary. We also take down the sidecast dredge spoils on the banks of Snow Creek that act a levees and disrupt fish migration and ecosystem processes.

This project will restore 22 acres of Salmon and Snow Creek estuary and recreates 1.5 acres of salt marsh that are currently buried beneath the railroad grade. These changes will benefit ESA-listed Hood Canal Summer Chum, coho salmon, birds, and marshlands.

Here are some of the pictures from construction. The first three are a series taken from roughly the same location on the southern shore of Salmon Creek.

Clearing the old RR grade of scotch broom. A few old creosote RR ties were left behind, these are loaded up separate and hauled away to a lined landfill.

After high ground covered in invasive species is removed from the West side of Snow Creek, the area is cut to a low marsh elevation. Here an excavator skates on soft soils to dig the first of many tidal channels that will cross the area.


Monday, January 5, 2015

A huge milestone in the restoration of Discovery Bay was achieved in October 2014 with the completion of the Maynard Nearshore Restoration Project. This project has been 10 years in the making, with a lot of meetings to attend and permits to write, but we are now able to sit back and observe the benefits of this project for salmon and wildlife.

Some stats from this project:

Photo credit: Rebecca Benjamin, NOSC
  • Removed 1 defunct tidegate to improve access to a lagoon
  • Transformed the 1 acre freshwater Cherry Pond into a one acre pocket estuary and salt marsh
  • Maximized the habitat value of 2 small freshwater drainages at their interface with the bay

Photo credit: Rebecca Benjamin, NOSC
  • Removed two 110' creosote railway trestles, one 70' trestle, and one 25' trestle
  • 258 tons of contaminants removed from the nearshore

Photo credit: Rebecca Benjamin, NOSC
  • 1,900 tons of rip-rap and armoring removed along 2,000 feet of shoreline
  • Removed fill from 2 acres of beach and re-created a stable beach slope favorable to migrating juvenile salmon and forage fish spawning

Photo credit: Joel Rogers Photography
  • Removed invasive upland vegetation. Planted 5,000 dunegrass plugs and 800 trees and shrubs in November 2014. A total of 8,320 plants will be planted on this site.
Please enjoy this video of the project during construction. It was filmed by Jim Fox, a NOSC volunteer. 

The Second Phase of the Discovery Bay Restoration Project: Creosoted Trestle Removal

Railroad trestles that once carried rail traffic from Port Townsend to Port Angeles are removed in Discovery Bay as part of the Discovery Bay Estuary Restoration Project

NOSC has worked closely with the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to remove the railroad bridge trestles along the Maynard shoreline, and over Snow and Salmon Creeks. NOSC strongly values the history of this site and will be installing interpretive signage to commemorate the cultural heritage of this area.

The Discovery Bay railroad bridges were removed due to the presence of creosote on the pilings. Creosote has been used as a wood preservative for a century to treat  telephone poles, railroad ties, piers, docks and floats. There are thousands of derelict creosote pilings in Puget Sound that eventually fall apart, drift  around the Sound, and wash ashore, leaving tons of toxic wood debris on beaches throughout the Sound.

Removal of the Maynard Bridge
Creosote is composed of more than 300 chemicals that, together, are very effective at achieving their intended purpose: preventing decay and infestation. However, when these chemicals leach into the Sound they  can harm other organisms as well. A piling that contains creosote can leach throughout its entire lifetime.

Removal of the Salmon Creek Bridge
Chemicals in treated wood—such as those on beaches or old dock pilings—can be harmful and even toxic to marine species. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the chemicals of most concern. Recent studies have shown that PAHs are detrimental to salmon immune function and development. Other studies have shown that herring eggs exposed to creosote have a high mortality rate and English sole develop liver lesions. These and other affected species are important in the food chain for salmon, Orca whales, and birds.

The railroad trestles were removed with funding from the Washington Department of Natural Resources and work is being conducted by Seton Construction Co. of Port Townsend.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Keep supporting Discovery Bay businesses!

The colorful blankets you see on both sides of the road at Discovery Bay may catch your eye at 45 mph, but they are only a hint of the variety that you may find inside the diverse businesses. There are more than a few fishy items!

Stop and check out the antiques, blankets and clothing, fishing tackle and bait, crap pots, and groceries. Or sit down for a meal at one of the two restaurants along the road.

We encourage you to stop and shop at these businesses, and thank them for their patience and support of the restoration work. Tell them the salmon people sent you!

Please drive safely and cautiously on all your travels, and especially around Discovery Bay!

In today's post: a few items on sale at Lucky Deer Trading Post.

A diversity of economically priced merchandise

From the outside, you may not peg Lucky Deer as your go-to location for tweezers, but our crew swears by the $1 pincers for sale. They spend a good many days removing blackberry brambles, so we trust them when it comes to tweezers

Friendly proprietor Karen Blessing

Salmon patches!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Support Discovery Bay Local Business!

The store and restaurant owners along Discovery Bay have been very understanding of the construction work that is taking place in their vicinity. During this time, NOSC is doing as much as we can to avoid impacting business. If you are in Discovery Bay this next month, please stop by and enjoy a juicy burger from Fat Smitty's (great for after a hike in the Olympics) or shop any of the many stores in the area. Let them know you are a friend of the salmon!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do you wonder what is going on alonside Highway 101 in Discovery Bay?! Here is your Answer!

Our Project Manager, Kevin Long, has been busy supervising the installment of the Discovery Bay waterline. It may not look like salmon habitat restoration but it is! It is the first phase towards the restoration of 21 acres of nearshore and estuary habitat in Discovery Bay.
Left: The 12 inch waterline casing is delivered along the side of highway 20. This will be fused together into a single pipeline that will go under Salmon Creek. Right: The waterline casing is fused. The drill will hook on to the end of this pipe and pull the pipe into the shaft that has been bored previously. 
Left: The drill uses water and bentonite to lubricate the bore. The water, bentonite and bore cuttings are received at either end of the bore. The water and bentonite are reused by the drill and the other materials are hauled off-site as clean fill. Right: Drilling fluid is returned to the reclaimer for recycling. While the process appears messy, a well thought out system of pits and erosion control devices ensure no soil or silt leave the site or enter the nearby creeks or wetlands.
Left: The fused pipe laid out alongside of the highway is attached to the drill head with a swivel and pulled into the bore. Right: The horizontal drilling rig pulls the 12 inch pipe from the ground. The pipe extends away from the machine and comes up on the other side of Salmon Creek 620 feet away. The pipe is installed 26 feet under the bed of Salmon Creek. 

Stay tuned for more updates!