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.

Building The Arched Culvert on N Main Avenue

The rebuilding of North Main Avenue brought many improvements to the city’s northern arterial street.  Adding two new culverts and raising the street to over 10 feet higher will  put the road and  at least one driveway  above the floods for both Gee Creek and the Columbia River.  There is a wide sidewalk that will get pedestrians and joggers out of the street.  New guard rails on both sides  should prevent vehicles from going off the road.  Of all the events, putting the arched culvert together was the most interesting

The arched culvert pieces were assembled on August 22nd of last year.  There were 24 pieces that made for 12 arches.  Since the arches had to support each other, the two halves had to be placed in the footings simultaneously.  To do that, two giant mobile  cranes were used.  Each half culvert section weighed 77 tons.  The work had to be carefully coordinated to protect the machinery, the concrete arches, and the workers.  It was fun to watch.  It was Legos, Tinker Toys, and Tonka Toys for big boys and girls.  Below are some of the photos I took on that day.

The heavy pieces of culvert had to be picked off the truck bed, attached to cable rigging, and swung into place. There was a queue of trucks entering and leaving from opposite sides all day long.  It meant 24 trucks each carrying one half section of culvert.

To move the sections into position, each piece had  several points of connection using cables, chains, and pulleys.  At the top of each section, facing the camera, are holes into which rebar will be placed.

Even though the pieces were quite large, they needed to be placed in exactly the right place in the footings.  It meant careful coordination with the two crane operators with the men in the lift helping to guide the process.  Since the two pieces would come to rest on each other, they had to be placed at the same time.

As the day progressed, the final pieces of the culvert were placed.  Note the array of chains, pulleys, and cables.   Looking at the back of the crane, there can be seen a stack of very heavy weights which counterbalanced the cranes.  It was easy  to see how skillfully the assembly was done.

The sections of the culvert were all put in place on August 22, but there still  was much work to be done.

Paul Snoey

North Main Avenue is Open

The barricades at the refuge and at Depot Street were removed late this afternoon and traffic has begun to move through the area. This street has been closed since the July 4th week-end. The new sidewalk was poured yesterday and is covered by a plastic sheet so pedestrians will have wait a little bit while the concrete cures.  Below is a photo of the first day of the project as the contractor began mobilizing. Quite a difference!

Paving on N Main Avenue

 

Paving was done on N Main Avenue today and appears to be almost complete. On the west side, forms have been placed for the sidewalk, which has yet to be poured.  There still remains guard rails to be placed on both sides.  There has been an 8″ water main installed in the street ending with a hydrant at the entrance to the refuge.  Under the future sidewalk, there is a two inch sewer force-main that will carry sewage from the refuge into town.  The completion date is still scheduled for December 31st.

Looking to the north behind the two workers, the end of a new 10′ culvert can be seen.  This culvert carries a tributary of Gee Creek that used to drain into Gee Creek on the east side.  The improvement created an opportunity for a salmon incubator and I asked the state to consider it.  Yesterday, the state granted permission for a remote site incubator to be installed on property owned by Raul and Claudia Moreno.  The Lewis River Hatchery has committed 5,000 Coho eggs for early January.  This incubator will be part of an educational program with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and likely students from Union Ridge will be visiting.

Wednesday afternoon update:  Crews were installing a guard rail on the east side today and finishing paving on the North end.  There was a lot of crew members on site today working in several different places along the project.  Heavy rain is predicted beginning tomorrow and the National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Thursday evening through Sunday morning.  The original culvert under N Main was only 10 feet in diameter and tended to back up during a heavy rain event.  If we do have heavy rain, it will be interesting to see the difference the new culvert makes.

Contributed by Paul Snoey

Progress on North Main Avenue

North Main Avenue is nearing having it’s final grade with many truckloads brought in the past few weeks.  When completed, the pavement will be more than ten feet higher than the old roadbed, placing this street well above any past flood levels.  There still needs to be a 2 inch pressure sewer installed in the street which will provide sewage from the wildlife refuge.  One of the employees of the contractor said that they may get curbs installed this week and possibly paving  done before Thanksgiving.   However, he said it would be more likely the first week of December.

We’re all looking forward to the completion of this project which began  after July 4th week-end.

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.