Saturday, July 20, 2013

Carpenter Creek

Carpenter Creek empties through a small estuary into Apple Tree Cove, the small bay on which Kingston is located. The estuary's inlet is formed by two spits, parts of which are now obscured by development on both sides. The geometry of any bay like this means that longshore transport (assuming there is sufficient wave energy in the first place) will be into the bay, since that's the direction most of the wave energy comes from. The actual configuration of the spits is also influenced by tidal currents in the restricted inlet (which also favor growth in towards the estuary in most cases).  Here, a small secondary bar or spit has formed on the west side, perhaps in response to the ebb flow?

Historical development in these settings often involved building roads across the mouth of the estuaries, taking advantage of the spits and the short stream crossing.  What began as simple roadways and pile bridges turned into more substantial causeways and culverts.

Here, an undersized culvert had led to strong currents and scour on both the flood and ebb sides, impacting the use of the estuary by salmon and other fish. In 2011, the old culvert was replaced with a short bridge, a simple (but not necessarily cheap) measure to restore estuarine function.

Personally, I just think it makes this a nicer place.

Google Earth:  AERIAL VIEW
Ecology Coastal Atlas:  2006 AERIAL PHOTO

After several evenings of playing catch-up, I think I have actually caught up. I'm writing this exactly one week after my visit to Carpenter Creek last Saturday evening (returning from the Elwha field trip).  Unless I go to the beach tomorrow, my next post should be from Santa Cruz or Big Sur!

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