By Gus Meyer, Tillamook
Tillamook County’s Coastal range of mountains has a limited prevalence of fluvial plains. (NOTE: fluvial process: The physical interaction of flowing water and the natural channels of mountains and the building of plains, is brought about by the flow of water. … any natural stream of water that flows in a channel with defined banks.) These mountains are of recent geologic time and are affected by an average of 90 inches of rainfall per season (upwards of a hundred inches in some regional occasions).
Watershed elevational rises of these mountains are moderate to high, except for the low gradient Tillamook River watershed. This yields high potential for sedimentation creation and transport out towards sea levels.
Mankind has fortified an established livable economic community development culture on the fluvial plain areas. These fluvial plain lands are thusly privileged while limited in area by geographic creation.
Tillamook County is made up of five major watersheds bearing the forefront of sedimentation. Our area fathers understood this well doing their best to protect fluvial lands development by some hardening of water ways and sediment removal.
The Army Corps of Engineers understood natural geologic events of the area and cleaned out the confluences of our major rivers removing sedimentary deposition until CY 1974. This removal in turn kept quality waters freely flowing out to sea through Tillamook Bay and promoted sedimentation transport towards the ocean (territorial sea).
Ever since 1974 our major rivers have been accreting sedimentation aggradation build up. The series of massive Tillamook Burns are quoted by Hydrologic/Geomorphic engineer Monte Pearson in the 2004 USACE Flood Study as accelerating erosion and debris flow volumes. It has taken these 60 or so years for this acceleration to complete its aggradation cycle while enduring massive landslides with normal erosional forces past, present, and future, as natural events.
Federal, State and local government mankind has stood steadfast on watching this as natural events ever after the 1974 stoppage of federal rock and gravel removal.
In fact, river sedimentation removals have either been stopped, or severely curtailed changing the entire water way cultures and habitats. The bay is filling with fine sediments, while down to the river confluences with the bay are filling with rock and gravel.
Now salmon man comes into the picture supporting the stoppage of sedimentation removal including the management of river erosion controls. I ask you, how can mankind turn their back on assisting natural events for the best habitats of salmonids, mankind hardened structures, and economics; locally, statewide, nationally, and even internationally?
Salmon man has control and the salmonid escapement returns are ever diminishing in count Salmonids are included on threatened or endangered species listing.
As one lifelong landowner repeatedly states regards river maintenance “The salmon man just doesn’t listen to us”.
“SEDIMENTATION BRAIN FREEZE” is the answer.