Sunday, February 24, 2008

Big Mission Creek

Like most (practically all, actually) stream mouths on Puget Sound, Big Mission Creek was domesticated early - it's tendency to wander across a small shoreline floodplain and delta held in check by levees, shoreline fills, and other structures. Until last year, an artificial lagoon occupied most of the stream's mouth, but now the small river fans out across a real estuary.

The December storm washed out every creek along southern Hood Canal, including this one. Not that it undid the restoration, but it probably wasted much of the effort that went into the little details. Sometimes the best restoration may result simply from removing the offending structure or constraint and then waiting for a good storm to begin to put things back together (does this sound too much like Edward Abbey?). I guess we want restoration to be as static and predictable as a levee or a seawall, but ultimately restoration is about allowing the uncertainty and the storms and the floods back in.

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