What Friends of The East Fork has accomplished in the last year – 2014
1. Rescued a critical piece of streamside land from being clearcut. It is located on the banks of the upper East Fork Lewis River right next to the Sunset Campground. This property lays between Horseshoe Fall and Sunset Falls, which is a critical section of river that supports the special strain of large steelhead that jump the high falls and make it up-river onto the National Forest spawning grounds. A private party living by the river stepped in, after all other efforts failed, and paid the $ 80,000 to buy the land and protect it in perpetuity.
2. We have become involved intensely involved with the “Wounded Warriors” military veterans from the “Healing Waters” local chapter. They assisted in planting willows and dogwood in the new West Daybreak Side-channel below Daybreak Park Bridge. The new side-channel built by Fish First, protects salmonid fry from extreme East Fork summer stream temperatures, provides cover from predators, and offers rearing habitat. The side-channel is already being extensively used by recently hatched salmon and steelhead fry.
3. To increase the protection of small salmon and steelhead in the new side-channel, worked with the military veterans group (Healing Waters Chapter) who later installed about 60 ft. of old Christmas Trees in the West Daybreak Side-channel. These needleless trees provide exceptionally good long-term habitat for the young salmon and Steelhead.
4. Friends of the East Fork had a board member on the Clark County Surface Mining Overlay Map revision working group. Over a meeting period of about 6 months, we were instrumental in developing an updated mining map that protected salmon bearing streams and critical lands in Clark County. The new map and designations were approved by the Clark County Commissioners after a series of public meetings.
5. Filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit in federal court to protect the East Fork from potential storm runoff pollution that might be associated with the operation of the Yacolt Mountain rock quarry. In the process reached a mutually agreeable “Consent Decree” settlement that addressed our concerns and the operator of the quarry also built a mile and a half black top road to more effectively handle storm runoff.
6. Installed wire cages around numerous small cedar trees to protect them from beaver damage at the lower Manly Road Creek (just of 259th Street East) salmon rearing pool and spawning beds. Again, the work was done through outstanding collaboration with veterans from the “Healing Waters” group. In addition, they installed about 60 ft. of needleless Christmas Trees to protect juvenile salmon that were rearing in the pool.
7. Several FOEF members submitted issue papers and testified at the exhaustive Surface Mining Rules and Regulations public hearings that went on for months. In addition, we were able to get the County Commissioners to maintain the “No Mining in the 100-yr. Flood Plain” regulation.
8. Installed wire cages around numerous small cedar trees and cleared out blackberries on the banks of the East Fork Lewis River at the Dean Swanson Chum Channel site where it sits adjacent to the River. Again, the “Healing Waters” veterans group provided major assistance.
9. Continued gathering monitoring (continuous temperature, project effectiveness results) and future project design data on the East Fork Lewis River.
10. Made all infomation public on our website to better interact with the citizens of Clark County.