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Ski
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 11:27 am 
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( edited for brevity )

November 2, 2007 - ONF - Olympia
ONF and Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with ONP, will soon complete the Dosewallips Road Washout Project DEIS. The DEIS will be available for a 60-day comment period anticipated to begin in mid-December and end in mid-February 2008.
The project responds to two damaged sections of road, one on FSR 2610, the other on ONP's Dosewallips Road. The DEIS analyzes three alternatives, as well as a "no action" alternative.
To receive a copy of the DEIS: ( if you did not receive the mailer with flyer attached ):
Tim Davis ONF 360 956 2375 or email your preference to comments-pacificnorthwest-olympic@fs.fed.us with "Dosewallips DEIS" in the subject line.
-> Documents: DEIS Summary ( 25 pages )
or                    Full DEIS ( 320 pages )
or Electronically: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/olympic/projects-nu/index.shtml
or Compact Disc
or Paper Version
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 11:29 am 
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yeah i know you're busy with school, kids, christmas, and annual floods.
make your voice heard, or kick back and let OFC and OPA and PEER queer another project. your choice.
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brownster145
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 4:25 pm 
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What if I make my voice heard and kick back and let OFC and OPA and PEER queer another project?

"In 2006, the National Marine Fisheries Service informed the forest service that rebuilding the road could have "dire consequences" on federally threatened salmon recovery in the river."
-OPA

I'll have to look into it a little more before deciding anything but, eh...

Thanks for posting this, ski.
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RodF
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 5:28 pm 
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brownster145 wrote:
"In 2006, the National Marine Fisheries Service informed the forest service that rebuilding the road could have "dire consequences" on federally threatened salmon recovery in the river."
-OPA

Obsolete information, on three counts:

(1) The proposal to which NMFS objected, to put the road back in its original alignment, now occupied by the river, was officially dropped.  Instead, it'll be hundreds of feet away from the river, outside of the riparian reserve, just as the rest of the road is.

(2) In January 2007, the National Marine Fisheries Service officially adopted the the Shared Salmon Strategy Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan.  This was based in part on a detailed study of chinook habitat in the Dosewallips, conducted by the state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, in cooperation with the USGS and others.  Here are highlights and here is the full study.  In short, it finds there are no chinook spawning pools near or above the washout, so provides no support for the NMFS' earlier concerns.  I'll post a more detailed summary of this study separately.

(3) Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service input must be solicited in this Environmental Impact Statement.  So if you want to know what the NMFS now thinks of the Dose Road project, you'll want to read this EIS.  Preferably, with an open mind.

Things have changed: several studies have been completed and a lot has been learned in the last two years!
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RodF
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 6:50 pm 
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There will be more information in the EIS, but here are some major studies that have already been completed on the primary environmental concern surrounding the Dosewallips Road reopening.

In 1999, Puget Sound chinook were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  In June, 2005, the collaborative Shared Strategy for Puget Sound presented its regional recovery plan.  In January 2007, the National Marine Fisheries Service officially adopted this Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan.

Chapter 5 (pp. 304-317) offers a Watershed Profile for the Mid Hood Canal (2.6 MB pdf), which includes the Dosewallips.

This is only a brief a condensation of the full 157-page Mid Hood Canal Chinook Recovery Planning Chapter (1.5 MB doc), by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Point No Point Treaty Tribes, May 2005.

This was based in part on a detailed study of chinook habitat in the Dosewallips, conducted by the state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, in cooperation with the USGS and others. Here are highlights and here is the full 91-page study (2.7 MB pdf). Helicopter LIDAR (lasar light detection and ranging) and ground surveys were done to map the entire main-stem Dosewallips River salmon habitat.

Some key conclusions of this habitat study:
page 9: "An impassable falls [Dose Falls] limits salmon use to the lower 23 kilometers [14 miles] of river."
page 63: "The Steelhead Campground reach, on Olympic National Forest lands at RM 10.0 [one mile below the Dose Road washout] represents one of the most healthy, dynamic river-floodplain systems in the Dosewallips watershed."
page 64: "Higher stream gradients and narrow floodplain areas in reaches upstream of Steelhead Campground limit the development of critical salmon habitat features.  However, reaches like the Washout represent important LW [Large Wood] and sediment sources for downstream alluvial reaches, and warrant thorough protection under USFS land management rules."
Figure A-11, page 65: "No pools were inventoried [are found] upstream of the washout reach."
Figure A-9, page 62 clearly maps two large gravel bars formed within 1/2 mile downstream by gravels from the washout, but no salmon spawning pools are found in this reach.
This is noted on page 63: "A large, active alluvial fan deposit at RK 16.5 [RM 10] forms the upstream 1750 m-long Steelhead Campground alluvial reach."

It is not clear whether the washout has been beneficial to salmon, or damaging.  The washout is a glacial deposit containing mostly clay, with embedded sand and gravel.

In the short term, it has dumped hundreds of cubic yards of sediment into the river, forming two large gravel beds, burying any salmon redds laid in the channel for almost a thousand yards downstream.  "Excessive sediment" is often cited as a major factor limiting salmon recovery.

The washout itself is subject to continued scouring during spring high river flows, destroying any redds laid there or a short distance downstream.  The problem is the lack of large woody debris (LWD)  to form logjams, increase channel complexity and form pools.  Gravel alone is not enough.  ONF's original plan, to introduce such LWD in the vicinity of and below the washout as part of the road reopening project, has been delayed for 4 years now.  Yet, ironically, this is now endorsed by the NMFS as part of the chinook recovery plan.

In summary, no chinook spawning pools are found near or above the washout, so these studies alleviate previous concerns that reopening the Dose Road could affect chinook habitat.  And ONF's current plan, to rebuild the road well above and away from the river, does not affect the river nor salmon habitat, anyway.
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Captain Trips
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 6:58 pm 
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Quote:
Aside from the environmental issues, not re-establishing the road may/will have significant negative impacts to the economies of the nearby communities on the west side of Hood Canal

Are we speaking of the same area ? - might have to cut down the beer supply in the convenience store and stock less cigarettes!
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brownster145
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 7:03 pm 
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Thanks for the information, RodF. Like I said, I'll have to look into it a little more. I'll do my best on the open mind part, but I have a hard time putting vehicle access ahead of fish in a situation like this (see: Queets), and there are severely depressed runs of steelhead that use the water near and above the washout. In fact, I believe a Hood Canal steelhead recovery program is in the works which will use the Dosewallips as a control stream (hatchery supplementation on Duckabush and Hamma Hamma). (That said, the recovery plan is dependent on broodstocking and will probably fail anyway...)

I have a hard time with: "not re-establishing the road may/will have significant negative impacts to the economies of the nearby communities on the west side of Hood Canal."

More accurately, not reopening the road will not have positive impact on those economies (the failure of the road was the negative impact, and it has already taken effect -- "significance" is up for debate). Additionally, even if the road stays closed, the establishment/listing of an actual trailhead at the washout site could conceivably provide for some economic recovery. The washout warning may currently be serving as a deterrent to some.

I haven't kept up on this issue like I should have, so I'm sure there is plenty I need to learn before making a decision either way.

Andrew
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RodF
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 8:57 pm 
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brownster145 wrote:
The washout warning may currently be serving as a deterrent to some.

It's often claimed that, by converting the road to trail, we'd "gain" a wonderful new hike-in campground: the Dosewallips campground at the abandoned ranger station.

What isn't said is that, for most hikers, who are limited to weekends, have lost access to equally fine campgrounds: Big Timber, Diamond Meadows and Camp Siberia on the west fork and Camp Marion and Dose Meadows on the main fork, all of which have latrines, bear wires, stock areas, and space for one to two dozen tents, and all of which are now utterly deserted in midsummer, with dead windfall limbs scattered throughout.

It's said we "gain" a wonderful new day hike to Dose Falls.  But day-hikers have lost access to Calypso Falls, Hatana Falls, the Dose High Bridge, and the Terrace Nature Trail is covered with deadfall.

There's no "may be" about it: the washout is definitely a major deterrent.  The number of hikers in the Dosewallips is way down, while Staircase and the Big Quilcene to Marmot Pass are even more overcrowded.  The washout itself isn't the deterrent, it's the rather boring 5-1/2 mile hike up a gravel road on a hillside that is the deterrent.
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RodF
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 9:29 pm 
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brownster145 wrote:
...there are severely depressed runs of steelhead that use the water near and above the washout.

An excellent point, Andrew.  Steelhead (ESA listed as threatened), and healthy run of coho, do use the river up to the vicinity of the Elkhorn campground, just above the washout.  The river also supports abundant native cutthroat and rainbow trout, both below and above Dose Falls.

That is why the Dose Road cannot simply be abandoned.  There's a lot involved in decommissioning the road and converting it to trail.  There are two steel girder bridges with pressure-treated 4x12" decking (over Constance and Bull Run Creeks) and there must be two or three dozen culverts under the road.  Because these cannot be maintained after the road is decommissioned, they will eventually fail, wash out, and may potentially dump thousands of cubic yards of sediment into tributaries of the Dose.

As the NMFS letter you cited said, "Some road segments beyond the washout are also at high risk of future washouts and landslides."  Indeed, one culvert has already been partially blocked, and the stream is seasonally eroding the roadbed.  Minor rockslides and one minor landslide have already occurred in the road cuts.  The longer the culverts and roadbed remain inaccessible to park and forest service maintenance personnel and equipment, the worse this will get.

That is why the Dose Road would have to be properly decommissioned. The culverts and presumably the bridges would have to be removed, and each stream bed restored to its original shape and gradient.  Both the Forest Service and Park Service have experience and have developed standards for road decommissioning.  This work requires one large tracked excavator, a bulldozer and one or two dump trucks to restore the original streambed and hillside contours and move the road fill back into the road cuts, followed by replanting with native vegetation to stabilize slopes.

Obviously, the Dose Road will first have to be reopened to get the equipment in to do this work.  Then they'll have to start at the top, probably by demolishing the $1 million Dosewallips Campground wheelchair-accessible latrine and shower building (which has been boarded up since the washout, because there's been no way to get a truck up to pump out the vaults).  Then they'll work their way down, removing culverts and bridges, excavating the original streambed contours, and refilling the road cuts as they go.  Finally, they'll have to remove their temporary road around the washout, and restore it too.

That's obviously more work than simply re-opening it.  In 2004, the Western Federal Land Highway Division estimated the cost of decommissioning at $170,000 more than simply re-opening the road.

What a waste, I say.  But if it isn't reopened permanently, it would have to be reopened before it could be closed.

(OPA claims reopening the road would have "dire consequences", but then advocates converting it to trail without mentioning that requires re-opening it, too!  Claim its waste of money to reopen it, without mentioning it would cost more to close it!  Disingenuous?)
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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 9:45 pm 
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Irelly do not give a stuff about the economics of the local beer vendors and greasy spoons. It is really not that mch of a pain to hike up he rod to the former TH. It is not comparable to the MFS or MLH.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 9:47 pm 
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Jeez..ok already.  Maybe I should delete my posts since it's obviously distracting to the theme of this thread.

Edit:  I deleted my two earlier posts

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I think there's an easier way on the far side
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Bruce
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PostFri Dec 07, 2007 10:20 pm 
Dose Washout
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Was there yesterday.
It is even bigger than before...after past wind/rain/snow
which is still ever present....perhaps 5 inches everywhere
and seemed trail head is gone .. with more road.

Perhaps the planning process will be delayed or start over??

Road or Trail
Fornt Country or Backcountry

Hmmmn!! lots of decisions and policy perhaps.
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PostSat Dec 08, 2007 6:06 am 
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RodF thanks for providing such fabulous material.  I for one am in favor of restoring the road, it the cost is not so large that it would detract from many smaller projects.  I had some concerns that RodF has allayed.  This is similar to the Whitechuck River Road and Carbon River Road as the washout achilles heel of the park.  The difference to me, is that it appears by the far the easiest of the three to repair.  Or am I wrong on that?
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PostSat Dec 08, 2007 11:09 am 
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i'm not sure that the dosewallips washout can really be compared with carbon ( or any other washout ) as each has its own set of circumstances.
the dosewallips project area doesn't allow for a lot of "wiggle room" as there is a designated wilderness area nearby, allowing only a narrow corridor for a by-pass route. ( a "few hundred feet" is what i was told on the phone yesterday. )
this last week's flood won't cause them to "start over", but there will be a bit of a delay in getting the DEIS out because some staff members working on it were called out into the field. this is a good thing, as you now have more advance notice time.
RodF thank you very much for your note and the information you've provided here. you're obviously far more up to speed on this one than i.
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PostSat Dec 08, 2007 11:49 am 
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peltoms wrote:
I for one am in favor of restoring the road, it the cost is not so large that it would detract from many smaller projects.

Dosewallips Road reopening is a project of the Federal Highway Administration through its Western Federal Lands Highway Division in Vancouver (home).  They have performed all the project surveys and estimates.  They cover 100% of project costs, with no share or match from Forest Service funds, and may also assist with planning costs. This is funded by our Federal gasoline excises taxes, which go into Highway Trust Fund, which now holds a $12 billion surplus.

Dosewallips Road doesn't compete with smaller projects, which are funded within the Forest Service budget.  It might compete with freeways in California, a "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska, and new parking lots at Biloxi's casinos... but weighing those priorities is far beyond our concerns here.  Congress has dedicated a set percentage of Highway Trust funds for major federal Forest road projects, although some in Congress have pushed to reallocate more to eastern and urban states, it's fixed in the budget.
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