The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Grays valley residents, agencies talk river work

Down River Dispatches


April 19, 2018

News from Naselle:

Sports calendar for this week: Today (Thursday), high school baseball and fast pitch at Oakville at 4 p.m .; Friday, high school baseball and fast pitch in Naselle with Winlock at 4 p.m., high school track at Chehalis Activator Invite at 3:30 p.m .; Saturday, high school track at Chehalis Activator Classic; Monday, high school fast pitch at Wishkah at 4 p.m .; Wednesday, middle school track at South Bend at 3:30 p.m., high school baseball at Knappa at 4 p.m. Go Comets!

The Boys Basketball Awards will take place next Tuesday at 6 p.m. and will acknowledge all boys basketball players including eighth grade. Note to parents and family members: These kids have worked hard as a team and deserve the recognition they will be receiving. Be there to congratulate them on a job well done.

Another FYI for kids and parents: Beginning this week there will be an after school program for those students who need homework help or to catch up on end of the year work.

Usher: A Totally Teen Comedy made for a delightful evening on their opening night. My sister and a friend and I ventured out into the rainy night to attend the Naselle Drama Club's latest work. The cast did an amazing job and drew the audience in to a great story, with a few undertones of teen anxiety shown in a comical setting. Great show!

These aspiring actors and actresses are very fortunate to have such a dedicated drama director in Karl Johnson, who genuinely seems to enjoy his role in shaping a portion of these kids lives. Thank you as well to those behind the scenes of the production and to the parents of the kids for all their support. Well done!

This Saturday, the Appelo Archives Center will host their Annual Loggers Reunion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guest lecturer Allan Wirkkala will speak at noon and discuss the life of Oscar Wirkkala: Logging Inventor.

Coffee and cake will be provided to those attending the event, and you may purchase lunch as well. Come and celebrate loggers, truck drivers and operators and help honor our timber industry in southwest Washington. Everyone is invited to attend.

A new book will also be available: “Deep River Logging and Deep River Timber.” For more info call Falon Hoven at 360 484-7103.

The Naselle Lutheran Church will host their annual Salad Luncheon from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 28. For a suggested donation of $7, you can choose from a variety of delicious salads. A plant sale will once again provide tomato and other starts for your spring gardening, quilters have been busy and plan to have several displayed for sale, and yummy baked goods will also be available for purchase.

Proceeds from this event will continue to support mission work.

Naselle Lutheran is located at 308 Old Knappton Road, Naselle, Washington. For further information, contact 360-484-3826.

Westend news:

On April 11, about 25 people met in the Grays River Valley Center at Johnson Park to attend the regular monthly meeting of the Grays River Habitat Enhancement District. The main agenda item was to begin a dialog between landowners and several different agencies in an effort to alleviate issues from the upper watershed of the Grays to the mouth and into Grays Bay.

Representatives from several agencies were in attendance including Columbia Land Trust, Wahkiakum County Marine Resource Committee, Cowlitz Indian Tribe and DNR/Aquatics.

Poul Toftemark, GRHED commissioner, brought up some locations that needed to be addressed in the near future and are a priority for the district including Mattson Road/Devils Elbow, Loop Road, Fossil Creek, Middle Ranch, Gudmundsen Bank erosion and the siltation of Grays Bay due to work done by the US Army Corps of Engineers and needing to channel the water from the mouth of the Grays.

Toftemark also stated that the GRHED is meeting quarterly with the county and other agencies and that they have come a long way with communications.

Ian Sinks, Columbia Land Trust, assured the attendees that despite past meetings and efforts to bring the landowners and agencies together, this would not be a “takeover” and that in the future the landowners would have more input, before projects were implemented.

Rudy Salakory, Aquatic Habitat Restoration Program Manager with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe acknowledged that there are major problems, and his organization is currently working in the upper watershed with Rayonier Logging on two projects to trap sediment in the river by installing log structures to slow the transport of sediment. He explained that there are more funds available for the work in the headwaters than for work on the mouth of the river. Allen Lebovitz with DNA/Aquatics division seemed to agree that starting at the headwaters was also a good place to begin, but it was going to be a long term issue.

Paula Culbertson with her husband, Jim, chairman of the Wahkiakum Marine Resource Committee, asked, “Is there a monetary responsibility by the logging companies for excess siltation in the river?” As logging roads are abandoned they are a source of huge amounts of sediment being put into the river. It seems there should be monies available to cover the liability from the logging companies.

Though work is being done in the headwaters, the landowners in attendance agree that in order to reduce many of the flooding issues in the valley, more needs to be done to flush the mouth and valley of buildup with sediment. This was done in years past by scalping the gravel bars for community use during the time of year when fish weren’t in the river, according to Gary Burkhalter, Mike Whalen, Jim Larson and others.

Landowner Carol Larson suggested that if the community were allowed to scalp the gravel bars as they had done in the past or other smaller projects it might mean a “buy-in” by the landowners to support projects suggested by the agencies.

Russ Lawrence, engineer and river specialist with StreamFix, explained that a master plan needs to be within the context of what we have. There needs to be a comprehensive plan for the entire river, a more baseline study so we know exactly how much sediment is coming down the river and at what rate. “It should be a funding priority,” he said.

One other agency, not in attendance, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, needs to be on board with what has to be done in the river. Collaboration with all the agencies and the people who live here must happen, or nothing will.

Another Open Mic Music Night at the Skamokawa Grange #425 is planned for this Saturday. Musicians and singers, come, perform and share your talent. Sign up to perform at 2:45 p.m. and open mic starts at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a jam session.

If you just like to listen to some good music, please come and enjoy the fun, friends and the coffee is always on.

Donations to the Skamokawa Grange are appreciated if you are so inclined.

Happy birthday to the following celebrants this week: Blair Gray, Emily Ashe, Tony Wirkkala, April Zimmerman, Joseph Strange, Haley Footh, Robert Eaton Jr. and Devin Roberts. Also a belated Happy Birthday to Gary Hamp. Wishing all of you a perfect day.

Wishing a very Happy Anniversary to neighbors, Dan and Tari Zimmerman. Here’s to many more celebrations together.


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