Ennis Creek Streamwalk Report
July 17, 2000
Walkers: G. Gleason, John Hammond, and John Spence
This past year Ennis Creek became one of the Streamkeepers' streams with two study sites, one site is just off of the South end of the parking lot used by Rayonier located between their truck route and Ennis Street; the other site is just West of Roosevelt Middle School playfield. We have named this Roosevelt location as site Number 3 since we may develop a new site someplace between sites one and three. The trail down to site 3 starts right behind the baseball backstop at the South end of the Gym at the school. This site is also used by the Middle School Science students for their work. To provide equipment and funds for these sites, the monitored sites on Morse were reduced to two and the two new Ennis sites were added.
Since this was the first time we have done an official Streamwalk on Ennis we requested Permission from Rayonier to go out to the Mouth of Ennis Creek which at this time is within the demolition zone of the Rayonier Mill. Our site host and escort was Mr. John Clevenger, who is the Site Maintenance Superintendent. Rayonier requested a copy of this report and a copy of any photos taken while on site. This we will do.
We meet Mr. Clevenger at 8:30 on July 17, a very nice sunny morning, and walked out toward the Stream's mouth. The mouth is on a small delta that has formed where the rip-rap and dikes become wider. The Mill was built on both fill and piling, much of which was in-placed between 1906 and the mid 1920s.
At this time Ennis Creek runs in a man-made channel formed by rock rip-rap, sheet piling, cement walls, and rock dikes within the old mill's footprint. It has a natural rock bottom and is crossed by 4 bridges used by the mill to carry pipes, electrical conduits, and roadways across it. Parts of the Mill were located on both sides of this channel when it was working. There is also an old railroad trestle across it. The City of PA's pressurized main sewer line leading to the treatment plant crosses under the Creek and is protected by a large cement cap which forms a low waterfall of less than 18 inches where it goes under the Creek, North of the Trestle.
Several photos were taken and as per Streamwalk protocol; the photos are labeled by letters, not numbers as are the testing sites and the photo's letters start with "Z" and work back up toward "A" as we go upstream. The photos at locations "Z" and "X" are taken within the area of demolition and show the Mouth, the type of channel and some of the bridges, and the location of the Cities Sewer line. Photos with an "X" in them are at testing site Number 1.
The above-ground demolition of the Mill has been finished at this time. The work below ground level, to remove pipes, foundations, and any more contaminated soils is in the early study and planning stages at this writing, July of 2000. The State of Washington will supervise the final clean-up. Some critical below-ground or below-water table work was done during the first phase.
We saw such a site which had been under machinery and was contaminated by oils in which the soil had been removed and a sheet pile coffer dam was placed between this area and the Creek. There were several "wells" used to get groundwater samples inside of this area. Most of the sunken logs on the West side of the site have been lifted out of the water and placed on site. In fact, a truckload of these logs left that morning for use in salmon restoration efforts at Deep Creek.
We also noted that there is a working surface water collection system in place, the same one that was used when the Mill was in operation. The rainwater is pumped into a tank and then out through the under harbor line that was used for wastewater from the mill's treatment plant. Since this line is longer and deeper than the Cities' Line, we were told that the city may take it over for effluent from their treatment plant. There was no evidence of surface water entering the Creek within the former mill site.
The final location and configuration of Ennis Creek in the former Mill site is not known at this time. Any future rebuilding of a more natural-looking stream and an estuary depends upon many factors unknown at this time. Once Ennis Creek leaves the Mill Site proper the banks are wider and the rip-rap stops for the most part near the South end of the parking lot.
Streamkeepers Site Number 1 is in this location, the first place there is no rip-rap along the stream. Except for all the growth of noxious weeds, Knotweed, Herb Robert, Reed Canary grass, and Blackberries, there are no major changes since the Spring visit. We then started to walk up the stream. On the East side, there are the remains of Rayonier's waste treatment plant and the City's Waste Water Treatment plant; on the West, there is the truck road down from Highway 101 which parallels the stream. There is rip-rap along the road in many places, but for the most part, the stream is not right against it. After a while, 300 to 400 feet up from site 1, Ennis Creek turns to the East and starts to widen out, form bars, and have debris in the stream. We took several photos in this area, photos lettered "W, V, and U".
Near the area below White Creek, there is a large bar and the area where the smolt traps were placed by Fish and Wildlife(?). The water coming in from White Creek looked bad! Slow moving, lots of brown scum coated the rocks along the side of Ennis until the water mixed. This is the only place that this type of brown scum shows up. There were a few places where a very little green algae trails off rocks. There is a small creek entering from the area of a bog which did not look very clean upstream from White Creek but the amount of water in it was not much. Since the last bacteria count was a little high for Ennis, we would like to test White creek when we go the next grab samples. A dead fish, a bullhead?, was found with a growth on it head photos of it and of the Whites Creek area were taken and are lettered "T".
Below the high tree-covered Cliff behind Thurmans and the Ford Dealer, Ennis Creek flows in a natural-looking environment. There is even a landslide that has put several Conifer trees into a log jam -LWD. We even saw bigger fish here in the deep pool under the jam. Since Rayonier has not developed the land in any way in this area, they have protected a natural-looking stream.
Near the city's treatment plant there is a tall cement bulkhead only on the Northeast side of the Creek. We could see nothing across the Creek from this bulkhead that looks like small bridge support or might hold an underground pipe in place. We plan on asking questions about this.
Just upstream we come to the first crossing of the Ennis Creek by Ennis Creek Road as it goes to the Cities treatment plant and we note that the pipes under the road here to the treatment plant and the second crossing by Ennis Creek Road seem small, and are listed in the Limiting Factors sheets as too small in size thus causing a high rate of flow during high water, the lower set of pipes is right a water level but have no gravel along the bottom. Photos "R and S are in this area.
Since we have not yet developed legal access to Ennis as it goes across private property, we saw it from the road, photo "S". There are two mini-farms with animals in the valley just below the Highway 101 culvert. One property has an erosion problem with the bank. We plan on going back to this area as we develop this Creek's monitoring plan.
The Highway 101 Culvert is a big Box type with a small fishway along the East side. It is easy to walk along the top of the fishway which looks as if needs cleaning out: some sand and gravel are found in the baffles. However the pools in the fish ladder are full of sand and gravel, it is not clear if a big fish could get the room to build up speed to jump into the next level. There are wood doors and bars to control the water level in the pools, not sure how to clean out the gravel except by hand. The photo series marked "Q" show both ends of the fishway and the fish ladder up to the culvert.
Just upstream from 101, there is a landslide that put more large wood into a jam, and once more there were fish under it. There also was a decaying deer in this area, but not in the Stream. We ran out of time to finish the walk, we plan on going up to Roosevelt School and walking down to 101. If we can find other legal access points we will expand the 2nd part of the walk upstream.