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ROWDY CREEK PROJECT SEES NEW SETBACKS

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Efforts to bolster the banks of Rowdy Creek face more delays and controversy, according to Del Norte County Supervisor Chuck Blackburn.

Im very distraught about how theyre dealing with us, said Blackburn about National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the decision making body for the project.

Blackburn and the crew of John N. Peterson, Inc. construction company were told last week work could continue on the banks, but NMFS has reportedly changed its mind. NMFS put a stop to the work last week, thinking the creek was being dammed, when it had actually been re-routed with a 400 foot culvert.

Blackburn said he felt the misunderstanding was resolved, but in a meeting last Friday, NMFS said the work should be done from the west bank rather than the east bank as was planned.

The permit worked out with California Fish and Game was to work off the east bank, using a culvert to de-water and de-fish the creek.

But now they want us to work from the west side, where theres a high bluff and a trailer park, said Blackburn.

They want to destroy that mans property by hauling three ton of rocks through it and dropping them down the bluff, he said.

The issue will be addressed at todays County Board of Supervisors meeting at 10 a.m.

More money will have to be allocated to the project because larger equipment will be needed to work off the bluff and damage to the driveway and landscaping in the trailer park will have to repaired after work is complete, according to Blackburn.

This will cost us another $40,233 to work off the west side. And that money will have to come from the Housing Rehabilitation Revolving Loan Fund, he said.

Rowdy Creeks banks have been weakened over the last five years of heavy rains and flooding. Blackburn says this factor adds a sense of urgency to complete the project.

We could complete this in a week from the east side. Were already two-thirds of the way done. Now I dont know how long it will take, he said.

The problem is that were on a timeline. Our permit runs out Oct. 15 and if a big storm hits, it would wash everything out, he added.

Chinook salmon and steelhead trout use Rowdy Creek as a spawning ground in mid-October and mid-December.

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