Monday, February 29, 2016

Lynch Cove

I'm not really sure what happened, but this is the first post in three months. The first since that beautiful day on Whidbey right after Thanksgiving. It's not that I haven't been to the beach, although those few trips have tended to be pretty gray and uninspiring. And it's not that there haven't been some interesting stories, but maybe the narrative and the photos weren't lining up. Or maybe I've been preoccupied with other stuff and let things slide! The next few posts will be a ragged attempt to get back on track.

We'll start here in Belfair, at the far tip of Hood Canal, way back in mid-December. The site isn't even a beach - too little sand and gravel, too few waves. But it's a neat salt marsh restoration project and has been in the on-deck pile ever since.

The large marsh complex at the mouth of the Union River is not unlike others found at the heads of inlets (Discovery Bay, Totten Inlet, and so forth). I guess on the delta ternary, it's mainly "tide", with a little "river," and almost no "waves." Like many historically drained ("pasturized?") marshes, this was an opportunity to pull out some dikes and allow the tides and the salt water back in. As elsewhere, there were challenges in deciding how much dike to remove, whether new dikes have to be built landward, how to maintain public access (there's a wonderful trail and boardwalk system here), and whether to recreate channels or let them figure themselves out. The current Google Maps aerial below shows the site under construction - a more recent image would show a remarkable network of s-shaped channels.


One thing that makes this marsh interesting to me is that its been subject to significant elevation changes - possibly rapid uplift associated with earthquakes, followed by more gradual subsidence. The story has been best worked out here in the marshes of Lynch Cove, but I suspect the story also helps explain the terraced appearance of much of the south arm of Hood Canal.

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