Chehalis Dam

#31
There is an open comment period through 2/2 on the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan (the fish and habitat restoration component of the Chehalis Basin Strategy). It's highly technical, but may interest some readers:
In the below article is the latest on the Chehalis Basin Flood Control Zone District preferred alternative - a modified FRO (flood retention only) dam, claiming dubious and untested fish passage when not in use for flood control. This component of the Chehalis Basin Strategy will undergo an EIS once state Capital Budget funding is available.
I've been on the tours of the proposed impact area and am working with Wild Steelhead Coalition, Conservation Northwest and other stakeholders who have plenty of concerns about the proposed dam, but see opportunity in the habitat restoration component (ASRP) of the overall project.

While the prospect of a new dam on the Chehalis above Pe Ell is frustrating to say the least, a cool billion or so in fish and habitat restoration funding could go a long ways towards revitalizing the upper reaches of this watershed.

Hopefully a collaborative outcome lands somewhere in the middle, as flood concerns are not trivial, either.

Comments on the ASRP aren't public just yet, but here's WSC and CNW's input on the last comment opportunity (PEIS) for background if anyone's interested:
 
Last edited:

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#32
Chase,

Don't you or WSC and CNW be lulled by the habitat restoration component. It's like the carrot on a stick held in front of the horse - the horse keeps walking toward it but never gets there. Same thing here, first the money is appropriated to build the dam, the dam is built, then the money for that habitat restoration is never forthcoming. Even if the habitat bait was all one billion spent first before building the dam, it's a bad tradeoff. I know the modeling shows fishery benefits, but the thing about habitat improvement projects is that the vast majority of them don't deliver the prospective benefits. Far and away the best alternative is to stop degrading and destroying habitat where it still exists and to allow natural processes to gradually restore functional utility, and that takes time.

Sg
 
#33
Chase,

Don't you or WSC and CNW be lulled by the habitat restoration component. It's like the carrot on a stick held in front of the horse - the horse keeps walking toward it but never gets there. Same thing here, first the money is appropriated to build the dam, the dam is built, then the money for that habitat restoration is never forthcoming. Even if the habitat bait was all one billion spent first before building the dam, it's a bad tradeoff. I know the modeling shows fishery benefits, but the thing about habitat improvement projects is that the vast majority of them don't deliver the prospective benefits. Far and away the best alternative is to stop degrading and destroying habitat where it still exists and to allow natural processes to gradually restore functional utility, and that takes time.

Sg
Fair points. No one's lulled. But merely opposing the dam without consideration of alternatives and local viewpoints is also a recipe for failure. I wasn't offering tacit support for a dam, but was urging a strategic approach.
 

Shad

Active Member
#34
The other problem with habitat projects (used as bait) is that in order to be effective at producing more fish in the future, restored habitat must be seeded with spawning fish in the now. That means raising escapement goals. Uh-oh....

Besides, the Chehalis has a lot of good habitat, despite the challenges. The 250K coho that returned in 2014 are a good benchmark for what the current habitat, under good ocean conditions, can produce. That made for some dynamite fishing! Granted, had WDFW known that many were coming, a LOT less would have made it upstream....

No dam! No creative alternative that ends up looking like a dam either!
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#35
I've been looking forward to exploring that area more. Mainly just to check it out and see if there are any cutthroat around. That must be spawning grounds for salmon up that high.
When angling for salmon the Willapa Bay tribs, I have talked to anglers from the Chehalis and Centralia areas that prefer to make the drive out to the coast for better salmon fishing, for brighter fish.
 

racermo

Active Member
#36
The justification is that the car dealership and Wal Mart in chehalis flood along with some newer land owners who didn't realize this when they bought their dream retirement hobby farm. I've attended several meetings on this and the ignorance is astounding. I could spend an entire day quoting stupid shit people have said about their excitement in getting a dam and a lake.
When they built the new Sewage Treatment Plant in Chehalis (2003-2004) they first built up the entire site so it was above the flood plain. When they had the big flood in 2007 you had to get a boat to get to the plant but the entire site was above water and stayed dry. The airport immediately to the north was flooded. The City and the Engineers knew what could happen and planned accordingly.
 
#37
When they built the new Sewage Treatment Plant in Chehalis (2003-2004) they first built up the entire site so it was above the flood plain. When they had the big flood in 2007 you had to get a boat to get to the plant but the entire site was above water and stayed dry. The airport immediately to the north was flooded. The City and the Engineers knew what could happen and planned accordingly.

Well at least someone saw fit and to it to keep the shit on high ground. Someone should tell them to educate the others. Every outlet mall on an exceedingly growing grade if fill, that's it. That's going to work.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts