Reader sees no creek in new Anderson Creek culvert

The in basket: Larry Mann writes, “In a dozen trips to look at the Gorst salmon project, I see not one drop of water flowing anywhere near the elaborate concrete culvert they are installing.

“How can there be a salmon creek there if there is no water flowing there? My back property line is a salmon creek and it has 12-18 of water in it all summer and 18 to 36 in it in the winter time?

“Absent flowing water at the construction sight ,what I see in Gorst is a very high dollar waste of taxpayer dollars supposedly to protect a fish that has survived 4,000 years before humans came on the scene to be their savior.

“How do you explain the fish dilemma, the lack of water on the project, and lastly are the salmon dying in the bay as we speak because there is no culvert or more importantly no water in this alleged high profile salmon creek?”

The out basket: It wasn’t easy, but I found a place to park on the shoulder of the newly reopened Highway 166 and I walked to where I could see the remaining but soon-to-be-removed culvert through which the creek passes under the eastbound lanes of Highway 16.

There was a steady flow of water (I couldn’t tell the depth) exiting the pipe, evidence that Anderson Creek does exist. I couldn’t see across to where the new culvert under Highway 166 has been built, but clearly the creek still is reaching Sinclair Inlet somehow.

Claudia Bingham-Baker, spokeswoman for the Olympic Region of state highways, said this about Larry’s observation: “You are right that water is not currently flowing in the new culvert being installed at SR 166. Our fish culvert projects are built in one of two ways: 1) installing a new culvert in dry land and realigning the stream into the culvert after it’s built; and 2) using cofferdams to restrict water flow in the streams while adjacent culvert construction occurs.  In the SR 16/SR 166 project, we are using both methods to replace the three culverts.”  Method 1 was used in the completed culvert.

“As regards spending money to improve access to fish habitat,” she added, “all I can say is that we are following the law and correcting environmental deficiencies introduced by our forefathers who unknowingly built inadequate culverts. The emphasis on environmental stewardship has changed over the years as people have gained an understanding of how manmade structures and activities affect wildlife.”




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