Clarkston, Wash. -- Maintenance staff from the Lower Granite Natural Resources Management Office, part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District, will bring fill material into Swallows Park beginning today, November 3.
“This work is in preparation for work on the Swallows Beach Restoration Project, a 25-year effort to deal with sedimentation at the beach. It is the first step in creating a safe beach access area downstream from the current location. To accomplish this, the Corps will remove a public safety hazard by filling the existing shallow pool and restore native vegetation in some areas of Lower Granite Lake,” Megan Innes, Deputy Chief of Natural Resources Management, said.
“As work begins, fill material will be brought into the park and isolated with construction fencing. Equipment will be stored in the area. The park will remain open, but the area will be busy with heavy truck traffic and potentially hazardous to the visiting public. We ask that the public stay behind the fences and away from the work site and equipment,” Innes said.
Swallows Park is a day-use area located between the Snake River and State Route 129 in Asotin County, Washington. The area is home to a four-lane boat ramp and 1.4 miles of the paved Greenbelt Trail. Amenities include waterborne restrooms, a couple of large group shelters, playground, and several picnic sites. The Snake and Clearwater Rivers National Recreation Trail also runs through the park.
“The beach at Swallows Park was once one of the most popular and heavily used recreation areas on Lower Granite Lake, and we’re working hard to provide a beach to the public once again. Safe beach access at Swallows Park has not been possible for many years because sedimentation and shallow water attracted high densities of Canada geese and other birds, resulting in degraded water quality,” Innes said.
The Corps developed alternatives to address the issues at the beach by completing restoration plans and an environmental assessment (EA) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) between 2015 and 2017. Environmental compliance included consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on potential effects to Endangered Species Act listed species and designated critical habitats in the area. The Corps also worked closely with the Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act. The EA and associated finding of no significant impact (FONSI) were completed in October 2017, and the Corps has been exploring options and seeking funding for procuring the estimated 22,000 cubic yards of fill material needed to complete the project.
For more information about outdoor recreation opportunities along the lower Snake and Clearwater rivers, contact the Lower Granite Natural Resources Management Office at 509-751-0240 or email ClarkstonNaturalResources@usace.army.mil.