CRC is Triple Threat for Salmon

Concerns voiced by the National Marine Fisheries Service about the Columbia River Crossing:

  • Construction impacts
  • Increased run-off from 40 acres of concrete
  • Risk that sprawling development enabled by the bridge will impact creeks that fish depend on

Full story in the Oregonian.

0 responses to “CRC is Triple Threat for Salmon”

  1. There is an exhibit of Green Artworks about a
    Park-Covered Columbia Crossing Bridge at the
    NW Lucky Lab Brewpub on nw Quimby.
    The Park-Roof will absorb the stormwater
    as it falls , eliminating the problem of runoff
    pollution , and a very expensive treatment
    The existing bridges are dangerously
    obsolete , and MUST be replaced. Our lives
    are at risk today! Construction Impacts will
    happen , and must be ‘Best Practices’.
    One cannot logically blame a bridge for
    possible sprawl. The bridge-users may go
    right downtown Couve into a Hip High-Rise
    on the River , if the price o’gas stays high.
    Finally , the marketplace is going to
    produce a remedy for the crude gas powered
    car with electrics/hydrogen. POOF no emissions.

  2. Continued population growth and not a new bridge is what threatens fisheries. The obvious way relegate run off from paved roads is by having more permeable ground area including larger lot sizes with more foliage around structures and homes, and therefore less urban heat island density.

  3. Did the NMFS hold similar objections towards expansion of Rivergate T5 and T6 or the surrounding industrial park, or the Portland International Airport, or the redevelopment of the former Reynolds Aluminum facility in Troutdale?

    It seems that the argument is at best selective and biased, and isn’t applied to other forms of development; I do not see the same standards of stormwater runoff being applied to the Pearl District with little to control runoff, that I see in many suburbian developments with stormwater “treatment facilities” that capture and naturally clean this runoff before it has an opportunity to runoff into nearby creeks.

    I do not see similar objections to the development in/around Gateway TC, despite that runoff that occurs from the transit park-and-ride facility (along with the freeway) certainly heads due north to the Columbia River.

  4. Erik – All development and significant redevelopment in the City of Portland is subject to the code laid out in the City’s Stormwater Management Manual (link below). This manual outlines the stormwater and pollution reduction requirements and suggests an array of options for treatment that may be used on a site-appropriate basis. This is what has been applied for Pearl District and Port of Porland development, and includes a mixture of green stormwater features (ecoroofs, swales, collection ponds, etc.) and an expansion of the piped system (paid for by system development charges).

    NMFS rarely concerns itself with development that is not taking place in or adjacent to a body of water that contains threatened or endangered species. Even then, a state or local jurisdiction handles the permitting process and enforcement details. The City itself is ultimately liable for the impact that runoff may have on fish and water quality from anywhere within its boundaries (except special cases, such as illegal discharges). Therefore, no, NMFS does not have an active interest in development at places such as Gateway TC (which, incidentally, drains to the Columbia Slough, and then to the Willamette, not to the Columbia River proper).

    The CRC is certainly a special case, in that it 1) spans a waterway that is home to endangered and threatened species, 2) crosses state boundaries over a waterway of great national importance, and 3) is set to receive a pile of federal money. Not to mention the fact that a large chunk of the work will be conducted IN the river. All of these conditions make it ripe for greater scrutiny by federal regulators, and largely for good cause.

  5. I noticed that no one seemed to be aware of the environmental impact from removing the existing I-5 bridges AND their piers. No, it isn’t simply a matter of anchoring construction barges, getting out the cutting torches and slowly taking the old components down onto barges. This would cause enough environmental contamination, in its own right.

    The bigger problem is the huge concrete piers which are settled in highly contaminated muck and mire and when removed would create a huge amount of turbulence that would dislodge all of these contaminants and send them downstream to St. Helens, Longview and Astoria. How big would each pocket (where the pier is removed) be? The piers are 150′ long and each have four 12 ft. diameter pilings connected with thick concrete footings. And there are nine of these setting on the riverbed. And then there is the matter of doing something with the wood pilings driven into the river bed.

    Because the present bridge structures are connected at nearly a dozen points by these huge structures I don’t see where the seismic risk–a favorite justification for replacing these bridges–really can be taken seriously. If there were a serious amount of liquefaction during some prolonged high Richter quake—not likely, with the epicenter likely even several hundred miles from here–what would the worst case be? Probably some settlement of some of the piers. A calamity no doubt—bot not the end of the world, or in this case, the Interstate bridges.

    The Interstate bridges–the oldest span now 90 years old–have been through a number of seismic events that are typical of what we would most likely experience around the Portland area. Is there any evidence in that ninety years that there has been settling of the structures due to liquefaction during any of these events? And the dreaded Cascadian subduction quake occurs not every three hundred years–it is 300-800 years! And can occur anywhere along a nearly thousand mile fault zone.

    Back to Fisheries. I think the NMFS should be apprised of the hazard to fish stocks from removing the existing I-5 structures. I think I’ll tell them.

  6. Even if the Interstate Bridge is removed–any reason to remove the piers?

    Other than the hazards they might pose to navigation, it might be better just to leave ’em in place. They might even find some other use one day.

  7. “Even if the Interstate Bridge is removed–any reason to remove the piers? Other than the hazards they might pose to navigation”

    I think that is one of the big ones…

    I’ve also heard that they are sites where predator fish hang out, but I have to wonder how big of a deal that really is: Is every pierrocketc a habitat for predator fish, in which case, removing a few piers from the old bridge might be less efficient than say, removing all the old unused docks along the river?

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