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Levee setback discussion resumes with DRMT

Report from Pearl Rains-Hewett
www.behindmyback.org

Posted 1/11/2015

Source Dungeness River Management Team

and online documentation…

Partnership, Ecology, Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP).

Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project Selection and Design

Lower Dungeness River Floodplain Restoration: Project Overview and ACOE Levee Setback Feasibility Study Results (Cathy Lear, Clallam County and Chris Behrens, US Army Corps of Engineers)

Dungeness River Management Team (DRMT)… Next steps: agency and public review, secure funding, negotiate partnership agreement, secure County easement for south access road.
————————————————————————

Project Narrative – Enhancing Shoreline Protection

US EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] (Region 10) Puget Sound Watershed Management Assistance Program ….. Human development has been focused largely in the lower … observed near the mouth of the Pysht River, at Dungeness Bluffs and at Freshwater Bay. …. Partnership, Ecology, Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP).

Grants and Funding | Puget Sound | US EPA

epa.gov/pugetsound/…/in...

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Outcomes: Effective and efficient management of Puget Sound restoration and …. Community Partnership for Riparian Restoration on the Lower Cedar River … 1100 feet of Dungeness River channel, 3) Restoring tidal hydrology and habitat …. Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project Selection and Design

II. Lower Dungeness River Floodplain Restoration: Project Overview and ACOE Levee Setback Feasibility Study Results (Cathy Lear, Clallam County and Chris Behrens, US Army Corps of Engineers)

Cathy Lear introduced the project update by thanking the DRMT for its support for the levee setback project, which was first recommended in the 1997/98 “Blue Book”, Recommended Restoration Projects for the Dungeness River. The Feasibility Study (of setback alternatives) has been completed and internally reviewed. It will go out for public review early next month. Cathy introduced the ACOE project planner and lead author of the study, Chris Behrens, who provided a PowerPoint presentation.

 Objectives: reconnect historic off-channel areas to restore fish rearing, spawning, and refuge habitat; improve complexity of riparian and floodplain habitat; reestablish river processes that create habitat, and conditions that will sustain them.

2

3 Alternatives: 1- Towne Road Alignment, 2- Meadowbrook Alignment At-Grade Road, 3- Meadowbrook Alignment with road on levee. Tentatively have selected Alternative 2. Haven’t gone through NEPA yet.

 Don Hatler suggested that one of the purposes of the projects should be for recreational access to the River. Chris responded that they haven’t addressed that. The purposes could be refined during the design phase. It has been discussed, but not designed for.

 Kate Houk asked if the all the blue lines in the map that Chris showed are proposed channels. Zac Corum responded that adding log jams will create some new side channels, adding structure/robustness to the floodplain, and less chance for the river to migrate away from high quality habitat.

 Robert Brown asked why the dike is moved farther south since the barn in that area is abandoned? Zac responded that the original idea was to remove the dike all the way up to that area. The Tribe supported that. However, that area is mapped as floodway. USACOE doesn’t want to raise flood elevations for property owners there; need to protect property owners south of the barn. Chris said that plans could change in the long-term. There may be an opportunity in the future to move the dike on the opposite side, for example, which would change things.

 Judy Larson wondered about the impacts of removing existing vegetation when the dike is moved. What will that do the temperature gradient in the river for fish? Chris said there will be some impact, but not certain how much. There are plans for replanting.

 There was discussion about the cost/benefit ratio of the project, and a comment that the project seemed huge for the amount of floodplain gained. Matt Heins asked if the cost/benefits took into account the areas up- and downstream of the project, as there is surely benefits outside of the project area, including to Dungeness Bay. Cathy said that the project will allow the river to reconnect to 112 acres of floodplain habitat. Chris said the relative cost effectiveness of the alternatives to each other was considered.

 Kate Houk asked about impacts of high water to Meadowbrook Creek. Kate is concerned about the “wall” next to the Creek and potential high water, and salt water. Zac responded that flood risk would go down considerably with this alternative. Elevation is +14 at the culvert. Tidal elevation is +11. Matt said that tidal influence ends at the DH2 property; tidal influence doesn’t go all the way back up to there.

 Robert Brown asked about the yellow rectangle on Towne Road (on the map Chris showed). Chris answered that is a bridge. A wildlife-passible culvert was discussed, but the bridge turned out to be more feasible.

 Next steps: agency and public review, secure funding, negotiate partnership agreement, secure County easement for south access road.

 

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