CalTrans’ erosion control system, designed to keep sediment from washing into Haehl Creek, failed badly this past February. It’s revealing that rain caused the system to fail, even in a year of light rain. CalTrans received a violation for excessive sediment from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, only the latest addition to its mountain of permit violations.
We have obtained the photos that state regulators gathered in the area and are are posting them below.
As the Water Board’s cover letter states, there was “an inadequate level of site preparation and erosion and sediment controls in place in the South Haehl Creek watershed.” The Water Board goes onto say that the habitat of federally endangered and listed species of fish may have been greatly impacted by the erosion.
For 11 straight days, according to the violation notice, the amount of sediment detected in the creek was more than 20 percent above normal levels. The Ph in the creek was above 8.5 for two of those days. Such conditions are perilous for fish.
Sediment fills in spawning pools of fish and suffocates fish juveniles (called “fry” in the case of salmonids).
It is interesting to consider the implications of Caltrans’ using this same slippery soil, which has now eroded into the creek, as fill for its freeway. Check out more pictures below. Continue reading