2020 Winter Flood Damage and Repair

 Umatilla River FSR 3200 Tucannon Bridge debris dam  Tucannon culvert repair  Tucannon road repair  Tucannon debris removal  S. Fork Walla Walla River and trail with wash out

 

Background/Overview

On Feb. 6, 2020 the Pomeroy and Walla Walla Ranger Districts of the Umatilla National Forest experienced substantial road and trail damage from region-wide flooding across northeast Oregon and southeast Washington. Flood damage is significant and the forest has implemented long-term temporary closures along the Umatilla River, South Fork Walla Walla River and Tucannon River until critical repairs can be completed. Ground access is restricted to affected areas due to the many miles of damaged county roads.  The Umatilla National Forest conducted an aerial reconnaissance flight on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, to get a preliminary assessment of flood damage.  Forest staff are currently working on options to secure funding and resources to conduct repairs.  Until those repairs can be completed, damaged areas are closed for public safety.

A poster showing detailed flood damage areas on the Umatilla National Forest

 

Feb. 14, 2020 Flooding Vicinity Map

Detailed Flood Damage Map

Current Conditions/ Repair Status

Forest-Wide

Last Updated: May 1, 2020 

  • Flood repair activities are ongoing, and anticipated to increase, as the Umatilla National Forest received approval for Emergency Relief for Federally-Owned Roads (ERFO) funds through the Federal Highway Administration.
  • These funds will be used to complete repairs in the Tucannon, Umatilla, and South Fork Walla Walla River watersheds.
  • Staff will begin completing site-specific damage survey reports to identify specific repair needs and cost estimates.
  • The Forest anticipates work will begin this summer and likely will be ongoing over the next couple of years.

Apr. 3, 2020

  • The Forest is working closely with Federal Highways and district personnel will help in the short-term to collect field information that will better inform future decisions and cost estimates to continue work into the future.
  • Forest Service Staff are completing more comprehensive assessments of on-the-damage in the Tucannon watershed and developing repair plans for work this spring.
  • At this time, all flood-damage closures remain in place.

Mar. 18, 2020

  • Forest staff have submitted a request for Emergency Relief for Federally-Owned Roads (ERFO) funds through the Federal Highway Administration to complete repairs in each of these watersheds. 
  • The Forest will prioritize and complete temporary repair work to gain access to certain parts of the forest as weather and funding permits.

 Feb. 14, 2020

  • The Forest is working on several tasks to respond to the flooding impacts, with public safety being the primary objective.
  • Follow-up aerial reconnaissance flights and on-ground assessments will be necessary to identify extent of damages to Forest infastructure. 
  • The Forest is coordinating closely with the Oregon State Fire Marshall’s office, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and local county commissioners. The Forest will seek shared stewardship opportunities with the states and counties to support joint efforts for repair work.
  • Forest engineering staff are coordinating with the Pacific Northwest Reional Office to submit for Emergency Relief for Federally-Owed (ERFO) roads through the Federal Highway Administration.
  • Employees will place barricades on the ground to prevent access into closure areas.  Closure orders are in effect.
  • The Forest has established a Flood Assessment and Repair Team to identify damage and develop a repair plan.  Walla Walla District Fire Management Officer Mike Moore is leading this team.

View photos:

Tucannon River

Last updated:  June 23, 2020

  • To allow additional public access, the Umatilla National Forest is adjusting the closure gate today on the Tucannon River Road (Forest Service Road 47) from the Tucannon Fish Hatchery to the Tucannon Campground. The new closure boundary will be located just past the campground.
  • The Tucannon Campground will also reopen today for overnight camping.
  • The remainder of Forest Service Road (FSR) 47 will stay closed due to flood damage, hazard trees, and ongoing repair work. In addition, the following roads and trails remain closed along the Tucannon River.
    • Portions or all of Forest Service Roads 4712, 4620 and 4713 are closed, as well as the Meadow Creek Trail #3123, Panjab Trail #3127 and Rattlesnake Trail #3129. Access to Camp Wooten and some other state campgrounds are also restricted.

 

May 1, 2020

  • Forest Service staff also discovered more debris slides on FSR 47 between Cow Camp bridge and Panjab bridge. In partnership with Garfield County, engineers inspected all bridges and identified minor repair needs.
  • The public is reminded that several roads and trails are closed in areas with the most significant flood damage. Detailed closure maps and updates on flood repair activities are available on the Forest website and at any Forest office. Closure signs will also be posted on the ground.

  • The Tucannon River Road (Forest Service Road 47) on the Pomeroy Ranger District will reopen on May 5 up to the Tucannon Fish Hatchery. The remainder of Forest Service Road (FSR) 47 will stay closed due to flood damage and ongoing repair work. Re-opening this section of FSR 47 will allow the public access to the state campgrounds and ponds along this road.

  • The following roads and trails are closed along the Tucannon River: Portions or all of Forest Service Roads 47, 4712, 4620 and 4713 are closed, as well as the Meadow Creek Trail #3123, Panjab Trail #3127 and Rattlesnake Trail #3129. Access to Camp Wooten and some other state campgrounds are also restricted.

 

Apr. 3, 2020

  • Contractors have completed the first phase of planned repair work on Forest Service Road (FSR) 47, which included removing debris slides up to the Little Tucannon Bridge, temporary repair of damaged pavement, and restoring water drainage features by cleaning and or replacing damaged culverts.
  • In partnership with Garfield County, a bridge engineer inspected the Little Tucannon Bridge and found no structural damage to the bridge. The high flood event washed away a large amount of material at the approach of the Little Tucannon bridge and that material still needs to be replaced.
  • Forest Service staff discovered more debris slides on FSR 47 between Cow Camp bridge and Panjab bridge. Engineers inspected these bridges and determined that both bridges are structurally sound, however the Cow Camp bridge needs minor repairs around the base of the wing walls where rip-rap was moved during the flood.

Mar. 25, 2020

  • In partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Umatilla National Forest has temporarily closed the Tucannon River Road (Forest Service Road 47) on the Pomeroy Ranger District to be consistent with Washington state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” executive order that closed state campgrounds and ponds along this road.

Mar. 18, 2020

  • Contractors have begun work on Forest Service Road 47 in the Tucannon watershed, which will continue over the next several weeks.
  • The main objective of this work is to provide safe administrative access for land management agencies to continue to develop repair plans.  Once the work is completed Forest staff will determine if it is safe to allow public access on specific sections of the road.  

Feb. 14, 2020

  • The Little Tucannon bridge is compromised and will need further evaluation to determine the extent of the damage. Water is currently flowing around the bridge at the junction with Forest Service Road 4620. 
  • Access is restricted to Camp Wooten, Lady Bug Campground and the Panjab Trail #3127.
  • The Tucannon campground experienced moderate damage.

 

South Fork Walla Walla River

Last updated: Feb. 14, 2020

  • Multiple areas were identified where the river has totally washed out the South Fork Walla Walla River trail #3225.
  • The Burnt Cabin Trail bridge may be compromised and will need further assessment.
  • There are three additional trails that feed into the South Fork Walla Walla and Forest staff are recommending a temporary closure of the entire trail system until a ground-level assessment can be completed.  

 

Umatilla River 

Last updated: Feb. 14, 2020

  • Forest Service Road 32 has extensive damage, including approximately five areas where the road is completely gone; in some areas as much as 200 linear feet of roadway has washed away.
  • At least a dozen or more areas were identified where side channels have distributed debris into the roadway, or the river has created scours in the road.
  • The Buck Creek Cabin was threatened by high water and may need repair work to protect the site for long-term use.

 

Other damaged areas:

Last updated: Feb. 27, 2020

  • Meacham Creek: Flood damage has been identified in the Meacham Creek watershed including debris slides and bridge damage impacting Union Pacific Railroad. The Forest is working in partnership with Union Pacific Railroad and CTUIR to complete critical restoration work outside of the railroad’s right of way.

  • Highway 204 Corridor: The Forest is coordinating with Oregon Department of Transportation and private landowners for road repair and maintenance needs.

 

Current Forest Orders

Order

Area & Brief Description

Year Issued
06-14-04-2020-09

Pomeroy Ranger District:

Trail Closures

2020
06-14-04-2020-08

Pomeroy Ranger District:

Road Closures

2020
06-14-06-2020-07

Walla Walla Ranger Distric:

Trail Closures

2020
06-14-06-2020-06

Walla Walla Ranger Distric:

Road Closure

2020

 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/umatilla/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd701752