Action Alert, E. Fork Lewis, Call to action

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Wes, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. Wes New Member

    Posts: 87
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I don't post a lot over here and I don't run up a red flag very often but this needs your attention.

    If you like the EF Lewis for any use, not just fishing - though this is critical to fish and habitat, fish runs and future fishing, you need to set aside some time next Thursday, April 29. There is a hearing on the proposed gravel mining by Stordahl's of the EFL.

    I'll try to round up the rest of the details, such as location and time. (If someone else already knows feel free to post it)

    It is important you make yourself familiar with the subject and attend this meeting. No, you don't need to be an expert, but you should at least be aware of what everyone is concerned about. I know how easy it is to have things slide off the scope without a closer look but this is an important issue.

    A very brief recap, Stordahl's is proposing (and very close to having approval) to mine more of the EFL for gravel. It would appear that some studies against the proposal have not been given due, if any consideration by the agencies involved. Mining the EFL can only do two things, put money in Stordahl's pockets, (which I have no real problem with, we all like money) and ruin the EFL.

    Why do I express 'ruin' over 'potentially affect', you only need look at the '96 flood where the river blew through the dikes. If you haven't seen the damage let me know, I'll be happy to make some time available and show it to you. This isn't a case of if, it's a case of when.

    If you know of someone who isn't aware of it (the issue and/or the meeting) you need to get them involved.

  2. Wes New Member

    Posts: 87
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Here's a link that presents a lot of info and the details of the meetings.

    Here's a link to an article in the Columbian,

    Again I URGE you to become involved in this matter. Whether we want to admit it or not, fishing anymore is about more than just tossing a fly, lure or bait at the water and yanking out a fish. We have to become active in the political arena as well if we are going to preserve our ability to enjoy our piscatorial pursuits.

  3. East Fork Active Member

    Posts: 1,200
    Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Thanks for the alert. I will write a another letter and maybe attend the second hearing although I am starting to feel like its inevitable that the permit will be issued, just like its inevitable spawning habitat will be lost if it is.

    If there is anyone out there that thinks opponents of the permit are exaggerating their case, send me a PM and I'll give you a drift boat tour to show you the spawning habitat lost in the 1996 floods and why additional losses must occur if the permit is issued.

    Who knows, maybe we can catch a summer run in the process.

    :) :) :) :) :)
  4. Jeff Lyons New Member

    Posts: 67
    Vancouver, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    This really is a very important issue, please take the time to at least write a quick e mail and let them know that this is not acceptable.
  5. Stephen Rice Senior Member

    Posts: 1,479
    Wasilla, Alaska
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hey E. fork when is the next meeting let me know and I will go with! thanks
  6. Davy Active Member

    Posts: 2,021
    SIlverton, OR
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Keep up the good work,way to go!

    It is an importinant issue

    But then again, we need gravel for all these homes to be built do we not? Do "we" not want our home values to keep increasing?

    Growth is good is what we have been told for the last 18 years or so.

    Isn't your "qaulity of living" better than 18 years ago in this area?

    I'll send a check, atleast uncle sam will pay a portion,if tiny,of my donation.

    Otherwise,don't really care-in 13 months the forsale sign goes up and I am out of here. 29 years and I have had it.
  7. BOBLAWLESS New Member

    Posts: 2,879
    Port Ludlow, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Growth stinks. Nuff said.

    I have never fished the East Fork of the Lewis but I consider it one of Washington's most sacred rivers. It must not be destroyed or damaged in any way.

    There should be a complete moratorium on the removal of any gravel from any stream. Gravel exists in many places that are dry and the cost of removing it is only slightly higher than digging up a stream.

    We have to continue to struggle, regardless of the odds against us.

    Fred Hill Materials is trying to destroy the beauty and the fishing of the upper Hood Canal. I work to stop him. But he has the Republican County Commissioners in his pocket. Money washes hands very well. Yet we keep working. Fred will proabably win, but he will have had a tough fight.

    Bob, the My law is this: If you take money as a "campaign contribution," you go to JAIL for accepting a bribe. If you give money to someone running for office, you go to JAIL as well for attempting to bribe a public official. There are no "contributions."
  8. Wes New Member

    Posts: 87
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Just a bump.

    I hope if you can't make the meeting you at least take a few moments to express your feelings and opinions to Susan Rice or Josh Warner.

  9. Wes New Member

    Posts: 87
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Here is near the final draft of what I will be sending submitting on this matter.

    Susan Rice
    Josh Warner
    Development Services Division
    Clark County Community Development
    Vancouver, WA

    Dear Ms. Rice and Mr. Warner,

    I am writing you today expressing concerns about the proposed gravel mining in the East Fork Lewis River basin by J.L. Storedahl and Sons Inc.

    I address these concerns to you from several positions and perspectives among them;

    As a Clark Co. resident and property owner who has a small stream flowing across my property and the attendant duty to act in a responsible manner when considering activities which may affect the stream or riparian zone.

    As a parent having young children and being charged with the responsibility to protect and preserve our resources for future generations pleasure and enjoyment.

    As sportsman who enjoys the outdoor recreation and fishing opportunity the E.F. Lewis provides and who spends a considerable amount of money locally pursuing my enjoyment of the river.

    As an individual who generates portions of my livelihood by guiding anglers on the E.F Lewis and again spends a considerable sum of money locally, both mine and clients while pursuing the recreational opportunities the river provides.

    My concerns revolve around and deal with several issues. In no particular order they are - degradation of the environment and further damage to endangered fish species; an apparent failure of the agencies involved and Storedahl’s to consider a broader range of developmental alternatives than those listed in the final EIS and HCP; questions concerning the science used, included or excluded in the reports forwarded to and used by the reviewing/approving agencies and the politics of authors of these reports;

    Degradation of the environment and further damage to endangered fish species:

    Using just one example, the 1996 flood, we have evidence of severe and long lasting damage to the environment and damage to endangered fish species directly related to mining efforts. As you are probably aware the river flooded into gravel pits on both sides of the river. Several years later current WDFW surveys find virtually no spawning redds through this stretch of river where there historically were many.

    An honest appraisal of our restoration and recovery efforts on a variety of watersheds and several species of fish have proven woefully inadequate. Despite our best efforts, we are losing the battle to preserve our wild anadromous fish. Though several groups are proposing plans intended to ‘restore’ the lower river there is contention on the viability of each plan with proponents and opponents arguing over who’s science or approach is best. The simple fact in all this is the river sustained great damage as a result of past gravel mining, that damage is still highly visible today and the success of recovery efforts yet remains to be seen. Further mining on the East Fork leaves us with the situation not of if, but when another catastrophic occurrence is going to happen. In short we are much better off preventing such an event than trying to recover from such an event.

    Alternatives Analyzed:

    It is my belief there been an apparent failure of the agencies involved and Storedahl’s to consider a broader range of development alternatives than the four listed in the EIS and HCP. The fact that only these four were included gives me grave concerns as to the intent on the part of Storedahl’s.

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries
    Final Environmental Impact Statement - November 2003

    Page 1
    Alternatives Analyzed
    Four alternatives were analyzed in the Draft and this FEIS, including two no action alternatives and two action alternatives.

    The no action alternatives include 1) continued processing of imported mineral resources, but no additional mining on the project site and partitioning it into rural residential or agricultural tracts; and 2) expanded mining and processing with subsequent partitioning into rural residential tracts.

    The action alternatives are 1) expanded mining of the project site and reclaiming it according to the proposed HCP; and 2) expanded mining of the project site and reclaiming the property according to an earlier draft HCP.

    An implicit threat in a half page ad in the Sunday April 25th. 2004 Columbian placed by Storedahl’s does nothing to alleviate this concern of Storedahl's intent -

    There is, however, another guarantee: If the HCP is turned down, the site will be turned into 20 acre McMansions. Neither our opponents, nor Ms. Rapp, are suggesting that the chemical runoff from the McMansions will be healthy for fish.

    This appears to almost be surreptitious effort to blackmail the public with an either/or scenario of these options. Selecting the least worst of several bad options should not be our only option.

    Just a couple quick questions for consideration, why not consider allowing a conservancy group to acquire the property instead of subdividing it; or why not consider granting Storedahl’s some tax or other incentive in exchange for the County acquiring the property. Clark County has a long history of providing tax incentives to industry for various reasons.

    Questions concerning the science:

    There appear to be questions about the science used, included and/or excluded in evaluating this proposal and whether politics have overridden science in evaluating this proposal. I am also disturbed by the comments of several agencies in stating that certain concerns are outside the scope of their agency or mandate. When several agencies involved in a complex project state that certain things area outside their scope, it would appear these same agencies are leaving some mighty large cracks for things to fall through.

    Combine these questions with concerns of the validity of including past human activity in the region as determinants for establishing the historic channel and flood plain of the river, see WEST Consultants, Inc. own comments concerning this

    “A complicating factor for the analysis was the existence of numerous split flow channels throughout the study area. The split flow channels occur due to both natural conditions and the migration of the channel into abandoned gravel pits along the watercourse. Several topographic divides along the river required that with-levee and without levee analysis conditions be evaluated.”

    and one begins to question the whole process.

    If only a cursory review of the EIS and HCP raised such concerns and questions, in view of the fact Clark Co. has been relying on the federal agencies review of the project, I feel it is the responsibility of Clark County to conduct their own EIS to determine the validity of the information included and forwarded to NOAA and U.S. F&W for review in approving this proposal before giving their own approval to this proposal.

    I will be attending the April 29th, and May 13th. hearings. I would like to remain open minded in this matter and have the opportunity to learn more. However in the event the Thursday, April 29th, 1:00p.m. public comment deadline would preclude my ability to make a statement that would be included in the public record please consider this document as my

    - opposition to rezoning the proposed site from agricultural to mining;

    - opposition to altering the formal definition of the 100 year flood plain;

    - opposition to the proposed plan for mining the East Fork Lewis river;

    - opposition to Clark Co. relying on the EIS produced by Storedahl’s

    - support of Clark Co. in performing their own EIS;

    Thank you for taking the time to consider my comments.


    I hope more of you have chosen to become involved in this than are represented in this thread.

  10. Brian Simonseth Banned or Parked

    Posts: 536
    Skagit, Stillaguamish mostly
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    Sorry I haven’t post on this issue.

    After reading pages of documents on East Fork of the Lewis; NO one can say there not a problem with this. An effect on water temp alone puts up a red flag for me. And that’s not all that makes me think a little more about this issue. Here a sample

    Here is an excerpt, memo from NOAA Fisheries to NMFS:

    1. effects of the pits on groundwater quantity and quality. The East Fork Lewis River (EFLR)is temperature impaired during the summer. We don’t want in make it worse. All local groundwater flow paths end up in the EFLR at. some point along the river. A porous matrix of cobbles and gravels is always a better insulator of water than floodplain gravel pits open of solar radiation and evaporation. Biochemical mechanisms in the shallow alluvial aquifer and hyporheic zone add nutrients and food that increase the overall productivity of the foodweb. Groundwater seeps and upwelling zones likely provide thermal refugia throughout the year. Remove the matrix of alluvium and you remove these benefits.

    2. will the pits affect groundwater flow paths? Are the conclusions in the HCP/BO valid? I believe the pits will affect flow paths, but didn't have enough time to go through all the groundwater information. However, I provided some insight into this question/issue in part 1.

    3. will the new pits increase the risk of an avulsion? Yes. The new pits are within the alluvial, geomorphic, active (and any other terms that mean "the river left it there and will be back") floodplain and are subject to the fluvial action of the EFLR. Further, the mere presence of a floodplain gravel pit increases the likelihood of an avulsion to that area of the bottomland, especially when the base level of said gravel pits are tens of feet below the bed of the adjacent river channel.

    4. Will recovery, after an avulsion, only take 5 years? No. I couldn't find this in any of the information you sent, but the answer is a resounding NO—more on the order of hundreds to thousands of years. Pits could only be considered recovered when the river replaces all of the removed material and the channel is brought back up to grade. Pit recovery requires a supply of sediments, and the watershed can only produce a relatively fixed amount every year. Unfortunately, the river can't wait hundreds of years to refill an unnatural sediment sink, so it satisfies its immediate appetite by cannibalizing sediments stored in the riverbed and in banks,.This action usually acts in motion a string of events that are usually significantly negative to the riverscape and its inhabitants

    5. The HCP predicts that an avulsion, if it occurs, will only take out the existing Daybreak Ponds. The new pits are outside the 100-year floodplain (in dispute) and therefore, according to the HCP, not vulnerable to an avulsion. The EFLR didn’t wait to fill the Mile 9 pit captured in 1995 before taking out the Ridgefield Pits in 1996. The proposed expansion site is within the geomorphic floodplain of the EFLR and therefore "in play" during a "100-year" flood. How do the Daybreak Ponds differ from the Ridgefield Pits, and how would the proposed ponds differ from both of these. Ask Storedahl for a derailed topographic map of the valley floor from bluff to bluff upstream from RM 5 to RM 10. The ribbons of alluvium that formerly separated the Ridgefield ponds from one another are likely differ by only a few feet from the elevation of similar ridges of dirt at the Daybreak Ponds, and from the ground surface at the proposed site. Then consider that the EFLR can easily climb a few feet as it floods...

    6. Will the reclamation of the ponds (in-filling with fines) affect the groundwater flow, and therefore the EFLR? Yes, from both a water quality and volumetric standpoint See part 1.

    7. Will sediments, if flushed from the ponds, settle onto downstream spawning gravels? (HCP says no, the EFLR is not sediment limited.) Possibly. This depends on the size of the fine sediment particles, the magnitude of sediment discharge, the discharge in the EFLR, and, to some degree, the temperature of the water in the EFLR (viscosity is inversely related to temperate). Timing is important- sediment delivery out of phase with the natural hydrograph is a bad thing for fish and the aquatic foodweb, regardless of the substrate it settles into. Thanks for your time, and the opportunity to provide comments on this project