Log jam proposal findings released

PORT ANGELES — The National Park Service has released the results of the environmental analysis of the downstream mitigation plan for the U.S. Highway 101 bridge replacement project which finds “no significant impacts.”

The assessment analyzed a proposal to place 12 engineered log jams downstream from the bridge site to mitigate impacts from the bridge replacement as well as the impact of emergency scour countermeasures that were constructed in 2016 and 2017.

The log jams are designed to improve river channel dynamics and provide increased salmonid habitat.

The mitigation plan was developed in consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pursuant to the Clean Water Act, and with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, under asserted treaty rights.

The Lower Elwha River is not within the established boundaries of Olympic National Park, but it has been temporarily managed by the park under the provisions of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992.

Because of this, the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration were required to obtain a highway easement deed from the Department of the Interior in 2023 before beginning construction of a replacement for the almost 100-year-old bridge.

With the completion of this environmental assessment, the current approved highway easement deed will be modified to include the engineered log jam mitigation.

The easement deed includes the demolition of the current bridge once the new bridge is complete.

The environmental assessment document is posted for public viewing at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/wsdotelj.

Public comment is closed.

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