WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Continuing work to create a low-flow fish channel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ section of the Mill Creek channel will require intermittent closures on the south levee trail beginning the first week of August through mid-September, Corps officials at the Mill Creek Project office announced today.
The contractor for this project, TML Construction of Hayden, Idaho, will be using heavy equipment on the gravel trail during this time frame. For safety reasons, visitors are asked to not enter the construction area when closure signs are posted. Visitors may use the pedestrian bridges crossing Mill Creek to bypass the work zone -- Be aware that dogs are required to be leashed on the paved trail running along the north side of the creek. The horse trailer parking and turn-around area just east of the Mill Creek Project office remains closed for the staging of contractor equipment. Visitors with horse trailers are encouraged to park at the Bennington Lake parking lot if they plan to ride horses on Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake lands during this period.
The Mill Creek low-flow channel is being constructed to improve fish passage for ESA-listed fish species (steelhead and bull trout). The low-flow channel will be built by removing a section of a concrete weir that runs perpendicular to the Mill Creek channel and replacing that section with a concrete notch. The notch will allow water and fish to pass more freely during the summer when the water is lower. The Corps will be notching three weirs as a test during 2012.
Work will be limited to the in-water work window, a time period when it has been determined that these ESA-listed fish in Mill Creek are least likely to be effected, July 15 to Sept. 15 of each year.
Last year, Walla Walla County and Tri-State Steelheaders installed a number of notches in weirs on the county’s section of the Mill Creek channel, four of which can be seen at the Tausick Way bridge over Mill Creek.
For more information about this project or for general information about Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake, call the Mill Creek office 527-7160 or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/millcreekdam.
Release no. 12-072