About Paul Snoey

I have a degree in Biology and Environmental Science from WSU Vancouver
I am very fond of Gee Creek and Allen Canyon Creek and do a lot of volunteer work to restore these creeks.

PAUL’S POWER WAGON

I have a DR Field and Brush Mower that I use to cut brush along the creek to make room to plant trees.  Planting trees requires moving tools,  sand and dirt, and the trees themselves.  Trees in pots can be heavy as are all the tools for planting them.  Wheelbarrows are hard work, especially carrying a load up and down a steep hill or over rough terrain.  My machine can take several attachments such as a snow blower or a wood chipper.  They don’t make a wagon attachment but will sell you one with the power unit built in for as much as $2500 or more.

So, I asked Tevis Laspa for help in making a wagon that could be attached to the power unit, and he responded that it sounded like a fun project.  I found a pair of wheels on casters and that a 1.25″ steel pipe would connect the wagon to the power unit.  After making a prototype out of a piece of siding, Tevis and I discussed how to make the unit.  It was made of welded rectangular steel tube stock with the casters and pipe welded to the frame.  When I came home this morning I saw Tevis had delivered it.  I took it for a test drive down the trail at Union Ridge and back home via N 5th Ave.     Tevis showed ingenuity in  putting the connecting pipe though the steel stock.  It makes for a very sturdy connection.

Thank you so much Tevis.  It’s just in time as trees can be planted soon.

Contributed by Paul Snoey

VETERAN’S DAY SUNSHINE

The National Weather Service promised that an east wind would scour out the low clouds and fog today.  But this morning was very foggy.  Drops of condensation formed on a spider web on my porch.  Would it be like this all day?  However, an hour later the fog and low clouds disappeared and the sun came out.

The early morning sun lit up N Main Ave  from North of the Liberty Theatre

North Main Avenue from south of Pioneer

The setting sun lit up Pioneer street nicely.  It was a glorious day to celebrate Veteran’s Day.

 

 

 

 

October Sunset

The sunset last evening was beautiful.  Sunrises and sunsets all week have been great.  Yesterday driving out of Abrams Park it was dark.  Up the hill  there was a blaze of light as the sun lit up the big leaf maples.  It was worth taking a photograph.

At the Hidden Village subdivision North of Depot street, there are few evergreen trees.  Rather, there are oak, ash, cottonwood,big leaf maple, vine maple, and the only Pacific dogwood in this section of creek.  Native trees here don’t have the brilliant reds and oranges like the Northeast but still are  a bright contrast to the green just a few weeks ago

The row of street trees on Simons seen from the post office are bright red this time of year, but the setting sun made them even more brilliant.  We have only a few more weeks left to enjoy the fall colors, then all these leaves will be on the ground.  Soon,we will see those gray damp days and not see much sunshine.  It does look that the weather should be nice through the end of the month.  The national weather service predicts a slightly warmer fall and winter. Since there is no longer an El Nino(dry) or a La Nina(wet), the NWS  has no real prediction about how much rain we get this fall and winter.

contributed by Paul Snoey

 

North Main Culvert Project

This photo was taken Saturday morning downstream from the new N Main culvert.  I had hiked down thru the woods below HiddenVillage to get this view.  On Friday, I had also hiked down and saw that the work area was fairly dry.  Above that, the earthen dam was intact and the large pump was able to keep up with the flow from two days of moderate rain.  Crews were busy on the stream bank above and below the culvert.  They were laying down fabric and doing stream bank restoration.   Early Saturday  morning beginning at about 2 AM, we had a few hours of very hard rain.  For  three days, we had a rain total of about two inches ending Saturday morning.  When I checked the staff gauge in Abrams  Park it showed a flow of more than 150,000 gallons/minute, much more than any pump could handle.  Looking through the culvert,  you can see the remnants of the earthen dam that was washed away early Saturday.  It meant that all the yards of dirt that made the dam were washed downstream.  On Monday, the hoses that had pumped the streamflow past the site were removed.   The project was close to the point that the flow could have been restored, so that makes sense.   However, it needed to be done in a way that prevented sediment from entering the stream.

This morning I noticed the electric signboard on 289th Street said the detour  would last until December 31st.  The original time was October 3rd,then Oct 16th, then November 29th, and now New Year’s Eve.

There has been a great deal of silence about this project.  There has been a lot about this project that needs to be explained in some official capacity.   Clearly, things have not gone as originally scheduled.  The delay interferes with emergency responders, the ability of people to commute, and others things such as school bus routing.  Who is paying for the extra costs, why the long delay, and who is responsible?

Contributed by Paul Snoey

Old Town Storm Water to Get Treatment Facility

Most of the blocks from Pioneer Street to Division Street and from North 5th Avenue to North Main Avenue discharge directly into Gee Creek by the Heron Ridge Street Bridge. It is the largest source of storm water pollution in old town Ridgefield.. The City of Ridgefield applied for a Clark County Clean Water Fund Grant administered by the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board. It was ranked number one for funding. The engineering was completed earlier this year, went out to bid, and the City Council awarded the contract to Odyssey Construction.

The project is between Maple Street and Heron Ridge Drive just east of North 3rd Avenue. The project is well into construction with a construction completion date at the end of October. It will provide treatment for low storm water flows with an overflow provision for high level flows.  This project will improve water quality of storm water into Gee Creek, especially during times of low summer flows.

The city of Ridgefield is to be commended for this improvement.  It will make a difference.

Contributed by Paul Snoey

North Main Avenue Project

This afternoon I went to the site to see the progress of the culvert  project. The sections of the wing-wall are sitting on the road on the south side. The wing-wall on the Northeast corner of the culvert has been partially done but nothing on the other corners. There is a tributary that came into the creek on the east side and the project will switch it to the west side. To do that, another culvert needs to be installed. It will be a ten foot  wide corrugated metal culvert and there are six twenty-foot sections by the staging area. The new road and pedestrian trail must be built and paved. No doubt this project will not be built by BirdFest on October 5th. It may be several weeks before this project is complete. The project website has no information about a change in scheduling and has not been updated since September 13th.

(Monday morning update:  The completion date is now Friday, November 29th.)

contributed by Paul Snoey

Allen Canyon Creek Flow Restored

A couple of weeks ago I showed a photo of this area  on Allen Canyon Creek.  The creek had stopped flowing and there was just a small pool with some Coho fry that were trapped.  We’ve had about 4 inches of rain since  September 8th.  I’ve never seen this high a flow so early in the year.  We have not had enough rain to saturate the ground enough to create runoff so the creek will drop pretty fast but probably will have some flow through the end of the year.  It’s interesting that the Coho fry stay in the pool just below the fern on the right bank.   They are free to go anywhere but seem to like their home pool.  This morning I dropped some gold fish food and let it float downstream.  With in  a few seconds the fry eagerly ate it. It is a good way to know if they are still there.  Notice how clear the flow is after such a heavy rain.  Water quality is excellent on Allen Canyon Creek.  However, for much of the summer, there is no flow.  The water is there but trapped behind dams to hold water for stock ponds and in storm water detention ponds.

The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership is accepting grant applications  for stream rehabilitation projects that facilitate fish recovery.  Private individuals  can’t apply but the City of Ridgefield can. If there was a study that looked at those places on Allen Canyon Creek where water is held it may be possible to modify them to release water in times of need.   Allen Canyon Creek could become a stream that could carry a much better population of Coho Salmon and possibly cutthroat trout as well.  How about it City?  Could you consider applying for a grant to improve stream flow on Allen Canyon Creek?

Contributed by Paul Snoey

More on North Main Avenue Construction

The photo above was taken last Thursday.  The reflection of the arched dome has created an illusion that the culvert is a complete circle.  Because the worksite was flooded all week,the contractors were unable to work.  Later on Thursday, a larger pump was brought in and it began pumping down the area on Friday.  By Saturday morning, the level of water had dropped about 3 feet or more.  Another large pump was brought in Saturday morning.  Sunday was a day of heavy rain and by tonight my rain gauge had 1.18 inches of rain.  The watershed for Gee Creek is 8.7 square miles.  A one inch rain on the watershed dumps 150 million gallons or more.  Some of this water is soaked into the ground  or stored in ponds and wetlands or storm water facilities.  The water that makes it to the creek can only go through the North Main Avenue crossing.  With the extra pumping today, the water level stayed about the same.  The National Weather Service is predicting another round of heavy rain early Tuesday.  This could be a real problem:  The high flows on the creek today will not have much time to drain the watershed before the next storm and the ground is beginning to be soaked increasing the amount of runoff.   September is a month of transition from summer into fall.  Occasionally, early autumn storms can arrive.  This year has been unusually stormy so far and is making things difficult for the project.  It is a little ironic that this project should prevent any future flooding on North  Main Avenue but is being delayed by a flooded worksite.

~ Contributed by Paul Snoey

Flooded Worksite

 

The work area is flooded halting work on the section of N Main Ave and Gee Creek.  The work area is dependent on a pump to move water upstream to down stream of the work area.  We have had some heavy rain yesterday through this morning. The staff gauge in Abrams Park showed a flow of 70 cubic feet/second or 31,000 gallons a minute.  It is much too much for the pump and the creek has backed up almost to Heron Ridge Drive.  There will be some  more rain this week and flows should stay higher for a while.  Usually flows are less than 5 cubic feet/second in late summer.

~ Contributed by Paul Snoey

The End of The Drought

A couple of years ago I had mentioned to Kathy Winters that I had seen a garter snake chasing some fish in a pond that had almost gone dry.  With the long summer drought, the same pond has only a few inches of water left again this year.  In driving by a few days ago, there was another snake in the pond and I could see lots of movement from what I  thought were fish.  I was curious and came back with a bucket of water and a net.  A couple of scoops and these creatures were in the net.  I took a few home and put them in an aquarium.  I took the above photo and grabbed a field guide.  These are larval long toed salamanders.  These are what the garter snake was after.  They are very fast swimmers and could avoid a garter snake.  But as the pond got drier they were becoming more vulnerable.

The photo above is of Allen Canyon creek.  This creek had stopped flowing several weeks ago.  There are a few pools like this and the Coho fry released from the incubator are stranded.  This afternoon, we had two heavy rain showers and they dropped almost an inch of rain.  It may be enough to get the creek flowing again and save these fish.   I may be able to stop watering trees along Gee Creek if it rains just a little more.  Perhaps Autumn is a little early this year.

 

 

N Main Ave Reconstruction

 

North Main Avenue has been closed from Depot Street to the entrance of the Carty Unit of the refuge since  the July  4th  week-end.  The old 10 foot  diameter corrugated  metal culvert has been removed, much material excavated, and a great deal of rock and sand imported.  There  has been  a steady stream of trucks going in and out for several weeks.  By midweek the area for the new culvert had been prepared and trucks began delivering the components to build the footings.  There are 8  pieces, each weighing  55,000 lbs.
The footing pieces for the South side were placed Wednesday and the pieces for the North side were to be placed as well.  However, there  is a problem with the crane and as of Friday evening the crane is sitting quietly and the pieces of the footing are still uninstalled.  The groove running down the middle of the footing will be where the precast arched dome will be set.  The interior pieces of the footing have rebar sticking out of them.  Forms have been built and will be filled with concrete.  This will make for a solid footing.  One of the workers stated the plan is to lower the arched dome next week.  However, this was before the problem with the crane happened.  At 3:30 PM today there were no workers on site.  It’s likely the crane must be repaired before work can be resumed. Since each piece of footing weighs more than 27 tons, it is easy to see why.

Climate Change Revisited

 

The graph above is the latest Monthly graph (May) for 2019.  The peaks for each year are always  in May. As growth begins in the northern hemisphere, it begins to take CO2 out of the atmosphere thus  the dip seen each year.  The increase each year from month to month is due to the burning of fossil fuels.  The difference between May 2019 and May 2018 is 3.6 PPM.  All the months so far in 2019, are above 3.0 PPM, a large increase.  The three biggest carbon emitters in the world are the US, China, and India.  The US increased it’s CO2 emissions in 2018 by 2.5%,  China by 4.7 %, and India by 6.3%.   The world as a whole increased it’s CO2 emissions by 2.7% compared to 2017.  So, the world is increasing emissions of CO2 instead of reducing emissions, reversing a trend the last few years.  The reason is economic growth of all three countries.  China is relying on coal for producing electricity, as is India, even though both are making strides in alternative energy sources.

 

The graph above is of the increase each year of CO2  from 1960 through 2018.  The black bars represent the average for the decade.  It is notable that the first decade averaged less than 1.0 ppm, while the decade beginning in 2000 averaged almost 2.0ppm. As mentioned above, so far in 2019, the monthly averages are over 3 ppm higher than last year.  If that trend continues, then 2019 could be the highest yearly average ever.  2019 will be the last year of the decade.  If the average is 3 ppm, then the decade will average about 2.5 ppm.  So, it’s clear that we are increasing emissions of CO2 rather than decreasing.

GLOBAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE BY YEAR:  1850 TO 2018

The colorful stripes above represent the temperature of the earth over the past 168years.  Each stripe is one year and the colors from blue to red represent cooler to warmer.   This graph was obtained from a “Show your Stripes” website.  It shows in an elegant manner the rise in temperature of our planet in the last few decades.  The last few decades have been notable for record heat, cold, rain,  drought, hurricanes, and typhoons.  The signature of  a warming world due to an ever increasing amount of CO2 into the atmosphere is strong.

I recently read about the winter that Lewis and Clark and company spent at Fort Clatsop.   They were miserable.  They were tired of eating mostly elk meat.  They must have been dirty and stinky.  They were wet because it rained all the time.  They were happy to break camp in the spring and head up the Columbia River and home.  It was the beginning of the modern age that began with the industrial revolution in England.  The age we’re in now is largely fueled by fossil fuels.  I could think about our explorers in the modern age.  After a day in the field they could come back to, let’s say, a hotel, take a hot shower,  and put on clean clothes.  Then, while drinking a cold beer, Meriwether Lewis could write up a report and e-mail it to Thomas Jefferson.    Then, they could fly back home.  The point is that the modern world is wonderful.  However, we are not paying the social and environmental cost associated with it.  The climate scientists are telling us that we must stop putting CO2 into the atmosphere.  To do that we must stop burning fossil fuels.  Some climate scientists are saying that not only must we stop emitting CO2, but we must begin removing it.   That would be tough.  It will be tough enough just to slow emissions.  CO2 has a long residence time in the atmosphere and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere now will have consequences that last hundreds if not a thousand years.  It is unlikely that we can change our minds in the future and undo the ongoing changes.  The best we can do is to slow the changes down.   However, there is great resistance to doing that and I’m doubtful that we will but there is always hope.  Many people are working  hard to make a difference.

contributed by Paul Snoey

Woody Debris in Lake River

This morning’s incoming tide carried  a stream of woody debris in Lake River. The woody material likely was deposited in Lake River and the Columbia from the flooding we had in February. The high water this week set a lot of it in motion.  A lot of debris jammed up against the fire department boat-house and this morning personnel were working to push it away from the entrance.   The tide crested about 10:30 AM and then Lake river should reverse flow.  The tide will come in again Friday morning and Lake River and the Columbia should crest at just over 13 feet tomorrow morning,  Then, the rivers should begin to drop.  For a few days, we can expect this debris to create jams at  the marina and the boat launch.

HUNDRED YEAR FLOOD

We had some slushy snow and rain Sunday night followed by heavy rain beginning Monday afternoon. I had about about 1.5 inches Monday and 2 inches more by 11 AM Tuesday in my rain gauge. The staff gauge on the footbridge in Abrams Park read about 9.7 feet for a flow of  1150 cubic feet/second Tuesday morning,  Unofficially, we had a 100 year rain event and a 100 year flood on Gee Creek. Public works was called out early to deal with flooding issues. Pioneer Street just east of Gee Creek had mud and debris flows and the bottom of Riemann Road was underwater as the culvert going across Pioneer backed up. North Main Avenue was closed at Depot Street as water ran across the road and formed a waterfall on the other side. The park Caretakers residence and outbuildings were flooded from a large flow where the creek had jumped its banks upstream.  It made a mess for a while but it was short lived.  By early evening the flood waters had receded and both North Main Avenue and Riemann Road were open.

The photo above is of the flood plain just below the Heron Ridge Bridge

The Gee Creek Trail at Heron Ridge was under some very fast moving water

The Park Caretakers residence and outbuildings were flooded.  City crews and court corrections crews worked to build a sandbag dike.

North Main Avenue was underwater until Tuesday Evening.  A larger culvert will be constructed later and this section of roadway will be raised above flood levels

   

Riemann Road near Pioneer was underwater for several hours.  There is a culvert that goes under both Pioneer and Bertsinger Road that is not large enough to handle extreme flows.

The remote site incubator normally sits a few feet off the creek.  It has 60,000 Coho eggs and fry in it and I thought they would be lost.  However, this morning I was able to get down there, restore flow, and clean the sediment off the eggs. There did not appear to be any mortality.  I visited the RSI on Allen Canyon Creek yesterday with Les Greear and that one is OK as well.

 

 

 

 

Union Ridge Giants

 

If you walk to Union Ridge School on N 8th Avenue, you will be greeted by some giant Douglas Fir trees at the end of the street.  The largest, to the left in the photo, is 145 feet  tall and is 19 feet in circumference at chest height.  It is the largest of some very big trees here and being among them is a pleasure.  Myrna Mills, a former deputy city clerk for the City of Ridgefield, said that when she was a student at Union Ridge, she and other students planted some of these trees.

The Carnegie Institute of Ecology at Stanford University did a study of carbon uptake in forests.  Their conclusion was that 25% of man made carbon dioxide emissions  are taken up by the world’s forests.  It makes sense to preserve and protect forests and trees.   In the United States, Pacific Northwest forests are the best at removing carbon from the atmosphere.  Douglas firs can live over a thousand years and can rival redwoods and giant Sequoias in size.  In addition to their beauty, trees clean the air, provide cooling, and remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Ridgefield has a lot of trees.  When I am in the Carty Unit near Lake River and look  back into town, there are so many trees I can barely make out the houses.  There are many places in Ridgefield  where more trees can be planted so let’s  do that.

Contributed by Paul Snoey