Category Archives: Clarks Creek

Letter: Clark’s Creek Silt Removal

Dear Commissioners,

I wish this could be a letter of thanks… for a job well done by employees of WDFW working in cooperation with employees of the City of Puyallup to enable the golden opportunity of a silt removal demonstration project in Clarks Creek this summer. But instead of thanks, it is with utmost disappointment and anger that I write to you regarding the sabotage of this project.

As a citizen that has always worked to find solutions to problems (and not just complain about them), I have worked many years towards having the City step up to a plan that will restore Clarks Creek to its natural salmon habitat instead of just “cut the elodea” year after year. Along the way I helped create the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation for the preservation of the Puyallup Hatchery, which has a new Educational Center opening this spring. Teaching our youth how to properly care for our waterways is one of our main missions. With Clarks Creek running through the hatchery, we were thrilled when this silt removal demonstration project was slated to be done by majority vote of a task force in 2012.

So what happened? Why the disappointment and anger… especially when all permits are now approved for the work to be done this summer? Because Gina Piazza (WDFW) and Mark Palmer (City of Puyallup) have turned an estimated $40,000, sand-wand, silt removal demonstration of 400’ of Clarks Creek where there are records of the silt being 50 inches in depth, into a now three year “environmental study” at a taxpayer cost in the hundreds of thousands! In addition, instead of using the task force recommendation of Streamside Environmental, whose experience at silt removal and stream restoration, using their safe, patented and proprietary equipment is documented throughout the United States and in Canada, they have elected to invent their own patched together system of pumps, hoses and screens and “experiment” with it on our creek!

As a member of the task force I sat with both Gina and Mark, listening to months of discussions regarding a Clarks Creek restoration solution program. It sickens me that the two of them took what was agreed upon and signed by the task force and manipulated it into this mammoth, expensive, worthless effort. (More detail is attached below.)

I would like to know how on earth this happened and why. As our commissioners, my hope is that you will look into this. Restoring all of Washington’s waterways to encourage proper restoration of salmon habitat is a priority to all of us.

Georga Prossick

Filed under Clarks Creek, Letters

Letter: Clarks Creek

To those concerned about Clarks Creek:

One of the greatest disappointments in my life happened last Tuesday as I sat listening to the employees report on their “update” of the action to be taken on Clarks Creek and the following NON-ACTION, “maybe we can do something next year” response of the entire Council.

To recap their “update”:  the City staff indicated that the Clarks Creek Sediment Removal Demonstration cannot proceed this year because time has run out for preparing, publicizing and soliciting bids for the July 15 through August 1, 2013 scope of work described in a request for those bids.

Let me remind everyone… from the city manager, to the council, to the staff, and to the members of the hard working task force who came together to finally agree to implement  the projects to repair and restore Clarks Creek:

The Clarks Creek Sediment Removal Demonstration project was identified by the Clarks Creek Elodea Task Force as apriority project.

The rationale offered for this priority designation was:

“Recent studies completed on Clarks Creek have analyzed the existing vegetation and sediment volumes, the resulting impacts to water quality, and the factors contributing to the vegetation and sediment quantities. It has been shown that removal of the accumulated sediment in the creek bottom will reduce the ability of elodea – a historically nuisance plant for Clarks Creek – to flourish. Reduction in the presence of the elodea will support improvement in water quality in the creek by reducing the demand on dissolved oxygen and reducing sediment trapping by the dense plant.

In addition, restoration of the creek bottom to a gravel base will restore fish spawning habitat.”

So this PRIORTIY is set… by our Clarks Creek Elodea Task Force!  Next?

The City prepares and submits the requisite JARPA form on March 12, 2013.  (I won’t say here what I think of it taking 3 months to do.)   Quoting from the JARPA form, here is their description: “This demonstration project includes removing accumulated sediment from a 400-foot stretch of Clarks Creek using a hydraulic dredging method. We are planning for a one-time demonstration project, with work limited to the in-stream work window following issuance of all necessary permits.”

Going further, let’s all look again at the City’s JARPA description of the hydraulic dredging method to be employed:

“A hydraulic dredge method will be used, including a hydro jet-assisted suction machine that will selectively remove sand and silt from the creek bottom, pumping it through a hose for one of these proposed management options: percolation pit, silt bags, Baker Tanks.  This project will minimize impacts to the aquatic environment by selectively removing fine material from the stream bottom, leaving the native gravel and cobble substrate. This will be accomplished by using a specially-designed two-pump system.”

Well folksguess what… the process specified in the JARPA form is a proprietary, patented process, provided only by Streamside Environmental.  There are no other contractors at this time that can provide this same service….. nor meet this specification.  Please take a moment to let that sink in…

Next round:

We need to secure our HPA (hydraulic project approval) permit from WDFW.  Tetra Tech, a consulting firm, was called in and thousands of dollars spent.  They were hired to develop a Revised Monitoring Plan, Clarks Creek Sediment Removal Demonstration Project in response to WDFW’s request that this information be provided before they can issue a Hydraulic Project Approval permit for deployment of GET THIS:  “a hydrojet-assisted suction machine that uses a specially-designed two-pump system in Clarks Creek during a July 15 through August 1, 2013 window.”   (Streamside Envirormental’s patented process once again.)

Lastly, bidding is now mandated?  The JARPA form, filled out and submitted by our own staff, lists the estimated cost of this project at $40,000.  How convenient to bump it up over $70,000 at the time of the updated report to the council last week… throw in a few words from our attorney Kevin as to requirements of bidding needed due to price point now… and congratulations!… the task… the priority project from our TASK FORCE COMMITTEE for having a demonstration project done this year…goes down the tube without so much as a councilman questioning it!

All of this City staff and related governmental agency personnel time and effort expended and monies spent on a consultant to move this project forward will be wasted if this project does not proceed this year as intended and specified in the City submitted JARPA form!

FAILURE SHOULD NOT BE AN OPTION!

Georga Prossick

Filed under Clarks Creek, Letters

Clark’s Creek Receding, But Leaving Damage Behind

As the weed cutting in Clark’s Creek continues, the water is starting to recede back to its’ banks. While watching your yard come back from being a lake is nice, the damage left behind is not. Creek resident Georga Prossick described it as “destroyed, rotten smelling yards all along the creek!” She also shared some pictures of what her yard currently looks like. You can view those below.

“A permanent fix for Clarks Creek must be found! And as that happens, we must have two annual cuttings of elodea starting at the earliest time of the year possible! (June 15th)” Georga shared in an email with Puyallup Now. She believes the city and it’s engineer Mark Palmer have been incompetent on this issue, take a look at the pictures and see what you think.
Here you can see what was left behind as the creek returned to its’ banks.

Filed under Clarks Creek

Letter: Response to Herald Article from July 4 on Clark’s Creek

Here is the link to the original article.

Your July 4th article entitled “Natural Obstacles in Clarks Creek” did not properly identify the reasons why Clark’s Creek summertime flooding occurs and did not identify any realistic solutions to the problem. The weed choking Clarks Creek is not native. It is Brazilian Elodea which has been identified in numerous Clarks Creek Studies commissioned by the City and Department of Ecology among others. The Brazilian Elodea is listed as a priority evasive species on the Washington Invasive Species Council’s web site.  This massive spread of this weed has resulted from the fertilization that occurs from the City’s unrestricted non-filtered runoff and the State Fish Hatchery’s long term release of residue fish feed into the creek.  

Clark’s Creek summertime flooding continues to occurs due to the growth of the evasive Brazilian Elodea and the long list of government agencies (City of Puyallup, Puyallup Tribe, Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Game, WSACE and the list goes on) that claim the creek as their resource and do nothing to manage or maintain that resource resulting in a polluted, sediment filled stream and flooded private property.  

All these competing public agencies have studied this issue to death at taxpayer’s expense and acknowledged the Brazilian Elodea and associated sedimentation as the problem but choose not to work together to try and resolve the issue. The current one cutting a season will not eradicate the Brazilian Elodea but it will control it. We have lived on the creek for years and the only times our property has been flooded in summer is when there was less than two cuttings or no cuttings of the Brazilian Elodea by the City. There is no need for any of the agencies to study this. It is an empirical fact. To think that volunteers pulling the weeds can achieve the same results as the cuttings is naïve. 

Those of us truly concerned with Clark’s Creek as a resource worth saving and managing responsibly think there are other alternatives that can result in a real resolution to the Brazilian Elodea infestation of the creek.  Those are the exploration of the use of herbicides such as fluridone and diquat as shown to be very effective in past use on the DOE website. Another option would be the introduction of the only known predator, the grass carp, which appears to find Brazilian Elodea very palatable.  There is also passive sediment collection technology available that would be a onetime fix marketed by Streamside Systems. 

This technology is proven and would safely remove the sedimentation the Brazilian Elodea needs to survive Clarks Creek would be restored to its natural gravel bottom..

Those of us who live on Clark’s Creek are asking the agencies who claim the creek as their resource to work together to explore these real resolutions to the Brazilian Elodea infestation problem and quit the useless and expensive studies and feel good weed pulling exercise. In the interim the two weed cuttings a season needs to be immediately reinstated by the City to stop private property flooding and damage until reasonable steps to a final solution to the Clark’s Creek Brazilian Elodea infestation are implemented.

Georga Prossick

Filed under Clarks Creek, Letters

Clark’s Creek Flooding Is Unacceptable

It’s June 28 and the flooding along Clark’s Creek is out of control.  The city has not cut the Elodea weeds yet this year and plan on only cutting them once.  Residents along the creek have stated that when the weeds are cut twice a year, while not a long-term solution, help reduce the flooding. 

Having viewed the flooding in person, it is very shocking.  People’s backyards are completely covered, flowers and bushes submerged under water.  Trees that were once on the edge of their property are now in the middle of the creek. Retention walls, instead of keeping the water back are now under water like the remnants of a small underwater world. 

We took some pictures to give you a glimpse of what our neighbors are having to deal with.  Frankly, this is unacceptable.  There is absolutely no reason why people should have to deal with these issues.  The city, Fish & Wildlife, the Tribe, whoever needs to get together on this needs to get this solved quickly.  Residents have been complaining and nothing is being done, other than some head nods and a smile.

It was said, and it is very true, the city is being reactive to this issue instead of proactive about it.  The flooding should have never got to this point and it should be the goal of the city to never allow it to be like this again.   

Here are some pictures, click them to enlarge:

Filed under Clarks Creek