Skokomish issues will get attention this week and next

The Skokomish River is the largest river in Hood Canal and vitally important to the canal’s health. It’s also the most flooded river in the state and home to the Skokomish Tribe. At the moment, there’s a lot of activity taking place with regard to ecosystem restoration.

The Skokomish River is the focus of a reporting project that has been consuming my time lately. Planned as a four-part series, the stories will examine natural values plus the history and future of the Skokomish watershed. The project is scheduled to begin on Sunday and run through Wednesday.

I’d like to apologize for the lack of postings on “Water Ways” last week. As deadlines approached on this project, I seemed to put everything else aside. Now, you’re likely to see a flurry of posts as I catch up on things I’ve been wanting to talk about.

As for the Skokomish, a public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in the Skokomish Valley. For details, check my story in Saturday’s Kitsap Sun, which mentions several issues up for discussion: the General Investigation of the river’s functions, a new plan to anchor trees into the banks of the South Fork of the Skokomish, ongoing decommissioning of roads in Olympic National Forest, a study of the functions of Vance Creek and dike removals on the Skokomish delta.

Not listed on the agenda is a discussion about the recent agreement between the Skokomish Tribe and city of Tacoma over the Cushman Dam project. I’d be surprised, however, if this didn’t come up in some fashion. (See my personal observations and details of the agreement in my Jan. 13 blog entry.)

The majority of the real action at the moment involves removing culverts and decommissioning roads on Forest Service lands. I wrote a story about some of these projects for the Kitsap Sun last August.

As an aside, I’m not sure I like the term “decommissioning” when it comes to roads, but I may be stuck with it. The project is usually more than “abandoning” a road, but less than “removal.” Anybody got a better term for it?

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