Salmon River Estuary - Tamara Quays
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From Trailer Park to Tidal Marsh: Restoring historic estuary wetlands and tidal channels
Tamara Quays, a 40-acre parcel purchased by the Siuslaw National Forest in 2004 using Land and Water Conservation Funds, is one piece of the larger Lower Salmon River project; a series of restoration projects in the estuary and associated uplands.
It was purchased under the authority of the Cascade Head Scenic research Management Act passed by Congress in 1977 and by 2006 plans were in place for restoration to begin.
What's a "Quay"? See wikipedia
Blue: old, historic channel of Rowdy Cree
In the early 1970s, a mobile home park named Tamara Quays was developed on the tidal marsh area. Several mobile home pads and two main roads dissecting the park were built. Ornamental trees and shrubs were planted around the lots.
Rowdy Creek, which had meandered through the original tidal marsh, was dammed creating an artificial pond named “Kingfisher Lake.” Fill material was placed on the marsh surface and dams and tide gates were used to control the water both entering and leaving the development. A dam was built around the trailer park to prevent tidal flooding.
Culverts were installed under Fraser Road at Rowdy Creek altering the flow. One culvert, controlled by a tide gate, flowed into Kingfisher Lake. A second culvert was in place to route high flows around the development.
Restoration Work Accomplished at Tamara Quays
In 2007 the restoration work focused on clearing the site of any remnant infrastructure from the trailer park. This included decommissioning a long-failing septic system and removing concrete trailer pads and asphalt roads. The clean-up work continued in 2008 when it mainly focused on removing underground utilities
The main project in 2008 was replacing the undersized culvert and removing a tide gate which controlled freshwater entering the site. It also prevented fish movement. The culvert at the head of tide on Rowdy Creek under Fraser Road was replaced with a culvert which allows aquatic organism access to the upper portion of Rowdy Creek. The majority of the restoration work was done in 2009. The marsh surface adjacent to Rowdy Creek was exposed for the first time since the late 1960s and fill material, approximately three feet deep, was removed.
The dikes, dam and lower tide gate were removed. This connected the area to the rest of the estuary. Ditches were also filled in. In addition to the earthwork, two wells were decommissioned and a power pole and power line were relocated. The restoration crew moved and rearranged 27,500 cubic yards of dirt. Fill material was removed from the surface of the marsh, all dikes were removed and the tributaries to Rowdy Creek were reconnected. Reestablishing native vegetation and controlling invasive plants.
In September 2009 all involved celebrated as tides returned to Tamara Quays for the first time in 40 years!
Rowdy Creek after culvert replacement
The People Involved
Current and ongoing restoration of the Salmon River Estuary has been made possible through the generous support of numerous partners.
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council
Siuslaw National Forest