Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Dungeness River

The walk out to the mouth of the Dungeness was an unexpected bonus of our field trip to the restoration site being planned at the site of the old Three Crabs Restuarant by NOSC and WDFW.

NOSC: Three Crabs Restoration

The Dungeness River - one of the steepest rivers in the country (the fact that it's short helps this statistic) - has emptied out across the Sequim landscape since the glaciers left.  It has gradually shifted its way westward, leaving behind a broad complex of spits and old river channels, now occupied by smaller streams.

Google Maps: AERIAL VIEW

The current river mouth is complicated.  The shape of the coastline, and in particular, the presence of Dungeness Spit, shelter it from western wave action.  Spits appear to form in response to eastward waves and build westward across the river mouth until the river cuts them off.  The aerial gives a hint at this process.  And the beach east of the river cuts through old (but not that old) river channel gravels and marsh peat - underscoring the dynamic nature of this coastline.

Since the mid-1990s, a new spit has been forming along the western end of the Three Crabs Road and it's possible it will continue expanding westward until it reaches the river.

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