Monday, February 18, 2013
Dry Creek emerges from a small canyon midway along the otherwise unbroken line of bluffs between the Elwha Delta and Ediz Hook in Port Angeles. I've posted from here before (Dry Creek March 2008; October 2009) and this entry is sort of an update, along with a way of capturing photos from last week's visit.
To the west of Dry Creek lies more than a mile of beautiful cliffs - no stairways, no seawalls. During the last few years, a broad foreland has developed along this stretch (see Elwha: August 2009). There's a good view of this feature from the top of the landfill. In the 1970s, a broad beach protected the bluffs along the same shoreline but in the 1990s, it was gone. Now it's back again. This is a huge amount of sand and gravel and suggests a far more complicated picture of sediment transport between the river and the spit than is typically told. Fortunately, thanks to the Elwha Restoration, there are plenty of folks watching these beaches and maybe in another decade we'll understand more than we do now. I suppose this feature may be gone by then - I wonder to where?
To the east of Dry Creek is the Port Angeles landfill. A large seawall was built several years ago to protect the western portion of the landfill, where trash had historically been dumped over the edge. But the cliff to the east continues to erode, threatening a more recent part of the landfill that was constructed immediately landward of the retreating bluff (nope - doesn't make sense to me either). There's no easy or cheap fix, but moving the garbage out of the way is probably the more practical and forward thinking option - it was nice to see it getting serious consideration.