After years of hearing bits and pieces about an Army Corps of Engineers investigation of the Skokomish River ecosystem, it seems that things are now moving toward work on a variety of projects. Many are of the type and scale that one would associate with the corps.
The public will get its first glance at 40 or so potential projects during an open house and slide show next Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. at the Mason County Public Works Building, 100 West Public Works Drive in Shelton. Review the news release (PDF 44 kb) on the event.
The 40 or so projects to be presented at next week’s meeting are only at a conceptual stage. They must undergo further feasibility studies and cost analyses. A draft feasibility report and environmental impact statement are scheduled for release in August 2013.
As I mentioned in January, the corps is no longer focused on controlling flooding in the Skokomish Valley. Still, much of the ecosystem-restoration work could provide some flood relief. See Kitsap Sun, Jan. 22, and Water Ways, Jan. 25.
Jessie Winkler, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, told me in January:
“Clearly, flooding is a problem in the basin. But because of limited residential and commercial activity, it would be very difficult to justify a flood-control project. In order to be justified as a federal project, the economic benefits must be greater than the cost.”
Here are some of the preliminary projects to be described at next week’s meeting:
- Install aeration or oxygenation system in Annas Bay to reduce the dissolved oxygen problem
- Add a cool water diversion to Annas Bay to improve water quality
- Restore eelgrass beds in Hood Canal west of the river’s delta
- Restore oyster beds in Hood Canal within the delta area
- Remove additional roads and levies in the lower flood plain and delta
- Relocate West Valley Road
- Widen Highway 101 bridge
- Widen Highway 106 bridge
- Reconnect wetland at River Road
- Modify Agency Road to improve flow conditions
- Rehabilitate channel for Skabob Creek
- Address levee and side channels on Hunter and Bourgault farms
- Address car body levee and improve channel for lower Weaver Creek
- Reconnect Weaver Creek side channel
- Setback the Grange dike
- Remove Hunter Creek blockage
- Install a sediment trap after dredging the main channel downstream of Vance Creek
- Reconfigure main channel upstream of Vance Creek
- Reconnect Sunnyside channel
- Remove or setback levees upstream and downstream of Vance Creek
Projects may include adding salmon-spawning habitat and/or large woody debris, removing invasive plants, planting native vegetation, improving fish passage, removing gravel on gravel bars and spot-dredging.