Letter: Clarks Creek

To those concerned about Clarks Creek:

One of the greatest disappointments in my life happened last Tuesday as I sat listening to the employees report on their “update” of the action to be taken on Clarks Creek and the following NON-ACTION, “maybe we can do something next year” response of the entire Council.

To recap their “update”:  the City staff indicated that the Clarks Creek Sediment Removal Demonstration cannot proceed this year because time has run out for preparing, publicizing and soliciting bids for the July 15 through August 1, 2013 scope of work described in a request for those bids.

Let me remind everyone… from the city manager, to the council, to the staff, and to the members of the hard working task force who came together to finally agree to implement  the projects to repair and restore Clarks Creek:

The Clarks Creek Sediment Removal Demonstration project was identified by the Clarks Creek Elodea Task Force as apriority project.

The rationale offered for this priority designation was:

“Recent studies completed on Clarks Creek have analyzed the existing vegetation and sediment volumes, the resulting impacts to water quality, and the factors contributing to the vegetation and sediment quantities. It has been shown that removal of the accumulated sediment in the creek bottom will reduce the ability of elodea – a historically nuisance plant for Clarks Creek – to flourish. Reduction in the presence of the elodea will support improvement in water quality in the creek by reducing the demand on dissolved oxygen and reducing sediment trapping by the dense plant.

In addition, restoration of the creek bottom to a gravel base will restore fish spawning habitat.”

So this PRIORTIY is set… by our Clarks Creek Elodea Task Force!  Next?

The City prepares and submits the requisite JARPA form on March 12, 2013.  (I won’t say here what I think of it taking 3 months to do.)   Quoting from the JARPA form, here is their description: “This demonstration project includes removing accumulated sediment from a 400-foot stretch of Clarks Creek using a hydraulic dredging method. We are planning for a one-time demonstration project, with work limited to the in-stream work window following issuance of all necessary permits.”

Going further, let’s all look again at the City’s JARPA description of the hydraulic dredging method to be employed:

“A hydraulic dredge method will be used, including a hydro jet-assisted suction machine that will selectively remove sand and silt from the creek bottom, pumping it through a hose for one of these proposed management options: percolation pit, silt bags, Baker Tanks.  This project will minimize impacts to the aquatic environment by selectively removing fine material from the stream bottom, leaving the native gravel and cobble substrate. This will be accomplished by using a specially-designed two-pump system.”

Well folksguess what… the process specified in the JARPA form is a proprietary, patented process, provided only by Streamside Environmental.  There are no other contractors at this time that can provide this same service….. nor meet this specification.  Please take a moment to let that sink in…

Next round:

We need to secure our HPA (hydraulic project approval) permit from WDFW.  Tetra Tech, a consulting firm, was called in and thousands of dollars spent.  They were hired to develop a Revised Monitoring Plan, Clarks Creek Sediment Removal Demonstration Project in response to WDFW’s request that this information be provided before they can issue a Hydraulic Project Approval permit for deployment of GET THIS:  “a hydrojet-assisted suction machine that uses a specially-designed two-pump system in Clarks Creek during a July 15 through August 1, 2013 window.”   (Streamside Envirormental’s patented process once again.)

Lastly, bidding is now mandated?  The JARPA form, filled out and submitted by our own staff, lists the estimated cost of this project at $40,000.  How convenient to bump it up over $70,000 at the time of the updated report to the council last week… throw in a few words from our attorney Kevin as to requirements of bidding needed due to price point now… and congratulations!… the task… the priority project from our TASK FORCE COMMITTEE for having a demonstration project done this year…goes down the tube without so much as a councilman questioning it!

All of this City staff and related governmental agency personnel time and effort expended and monies spent on a consultant to move this project forward will be wasted if this project does not proceed this year as intended and specified in the City submitted JARPA form!

FAILURE SHOULD NOT BE AN OPTION!

Georga Prossick

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