Unusual carcass washes up on Beach Drive shore

A local neighbor reported this washed up shark carcass to Washington Fish & Wildlife late this morning while walking his dog along Emma Schmitz Viewpoint…

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Beach Drive resident Mark Snyder spotted the nearly 6 foot hulk after peering over the edge of the seawall to see what all the bird racket was about.

A spokesperson from WSFW believed that it may be related to a species of Thresher shark they’ve been seeing due to the warmer than usual waters off the coast. She also mentioned that ocean going ships will often snag an animal from distant waters and deposit them on inland shores as they reduce speed. A Wildlife boat has been dispatched for tomorrow morning to drag the shark back to the Armeni ramp for proper disposal.

Mark is often seen sail boarding on the windiest of days around here and told us that “this will definitely make me better at my sport, I’d hate to fall out there and meet one of these guys!”

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

The Tacoma & Samish ferries testing off Beach Drive

Notice all the unusual ferry traffic off of the drive lately? WSDOT is putting two boats through the paces prior to Coast Guard safety inspections.

The Samish is the latest 144 car Olympic class boat that will join the San Juan Island fleet this summer. She’s the second of three new boats designed to replace some of the aging Evergreen State Class ferries that were built in the 1950’s.

The MV Tacoma is the infamous jumbo that blew a few fuses in late July and left hundreds stranded. An employee from WSDOT (West Seattle resident & a BDB reader!) told me she was very excited to see this ferry rejoin the Bainbridge route starting in April.

IMG_3986Unusual sight to see a couple Washington State ferries drag racing while hiking through Mee-Kwa-Mooks park.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

UFO buzzes onlookers at Mee-Kwa-Mooks

It’s a plane, it’s a bug, no, it’s a powered paraglider cruising at low altitude off the shores of Beach Drive SW late this afternoon…

IMG_3952The flight path appeared to be north around Alki Point at around 3:50 PM then back south towards Lincoln Park and beyond!

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Pretty darn cool if you ask me!

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Routine maintenance on Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook sea wall

A Seattle Park & Rec crew performed some routine and temporary repairs today along the aging sea wall.

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Winter storms and runoff has caused erosion in several areas behind the 1927 wall… and in front of the 54″ sewer main where the crew will back-fill with gravel.

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The permanent fix is still in the paper stage with the Seattle division of Army Corp of Engineers.  I’m waiting for a response regarding any progress and will report on any new developments.

UPDATE: 1:32 PM

Melissa Leslie of the US Army Corps of Engineers informed me that there are no updates at this time.

The feasibility report is still under review at our Division office. Once the project is approved we will then start the design phase to reach 100% design. Seattle Parks is probably just be conducting maintenance at this time.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Official News Release regarding popular Beach Drive seawall project

Hot off the press from the Seattle Division of US Army Corp of Engineers:

SEATTLE – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, has partnered with the Seattle Parks and Recreation to design and implement a coastal storm damage reduction project under Section 103 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1962, as amended. The public comment period for this project runs through Dec. 31.

Emma Schmitz Overlook is located at 4503 Beach Drive SW, south of Alki Point in Seattle. The site includes a seawall built around 1927 that has deteriorated over time. Currently coastal storms and erosion threaten public infrastructure located in and around the seawall, including a 54-inch King County sewer main, a major public arterial, city park property and other underground utilities. The recommended plan includes construction of a soldier pile seawall parallel to the shoreline throughout the study area. The new seawall would be a few feet higher and seaward of the existing seawall. This would provide protection against damages caused by coastal storm events that occur in Puget Sound.

In 1998, the City of Seattle was prompted to take emergency action to stabilize the shoreline to the north of the proposed federal project when storm waves resulted in the failure of a similar section of existing seawall and subsequent erosion of shoreline protection that threatened utilities, roadways, and public lands. The city completed permanent emergency repairs on this adjacent site, which is not included in the scope of the proposed Federal project.

The recommended plan was chosen because it has the least environmental impacts, cost the least cost and meets all project purposes. Coordination with resource agencies and federal tribes is ongoing and preliminary indications expect a concurrence with the project.

The implementation cost of the recommended plan is estimated to be $2.29 million and will be cost-shared 65 percent federal ($1,488,000) and 35 percent non-federal ($801,000). The non-federal sponsor, Seattle Parks and Recreation, is responsible for all lands, easements, right-of-ways, relocations, and/or disposal areas which are controlled by the sponsor. Economic analysis suggests the project could prevent millions of dollars of physical and non-physical damages, resulting in a favorable benefit-cost ratio.

Submit comments to this office, Attn: Environmental and Cultural Resources Branch, no later than December 31, 2014 to ensure consideration. In addition to sending comments via mail, comments may be e-mailed to Melissa.L.Leslie@usace.army.mil. The Notice of Availability and Draft DPR/EA can be found at the following website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/EnvironmentalDocuments/2014EnvironmentalDocuments.aspx. Requests for additional information should be directed to Ms. Melissa Leslie at 206-764-6587, or the above e-mail address.
###

Tanya M. King
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
206-764-6958 (office)
206-422-2679 (cell)
206-764-3769 (fax)

http://www.nws.usace.army.mil

I would like to think that this project could grease the skids of King County in favor of Beach Drive residents considering to raise their own seawalls from events caused by global warming.

Historic1968 Emma Schmitz Park seawall circa 1968. Photo credit to City of Seattle archives

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Comment period open for Emma Schmitz Memorial seawall project

With an official press release due out as soon as this Monday, Beach Drive Blog has been notified by Seattle Parks and the Seattle District of the US Army Corp of Engineers that public comment is now open in regard to the pending seawall replacement for the southern section of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Park. Public Comment closes December 31st 2014. Click here for the Public Notice. Comments may be e-mailed to Melissa.L.Leslie@usace.army.mil.

Tanya M King, Public Affairs Specialist with the Corp is very interested in being the single point of contact for any unofficial comments or concerns residents may have regarding the project. There are several different public entities within the immediate scope of the project (Seattle Parks, King County sewer and road, City of Seattle utilities & sidewalk, etc) and Tanya is committed to work with all jurisdictions to get your answers “it may take a day or two or even longer in some cases, but I will do my best to make life easier for residents looking for answers or expressing concerns”. Please see Tanya’s contact info at the bottom of post.

We wrote an article back in April when Becky Rufin, Parks Engineering Manager with Seattle Parks & Rec was kind enough to share the 64 page proposed plan for the new seawall. Per Becky’s email today…

If approved by the federal government, the Seattle Parks Department will be entering into a cost-sharing agreement for replacement of this aging structure. Project design and construction would actually be executed by USACE.
Please note there is currently a public review period open for the proposal, and comments must be received by December 31, 2014.

Beach Drive Blog asked Tanya to confirm a few specifics regarding the project. She responded before I could even finish the post!

How much taller will the new wall stand above the existing? 2 to 3 feet

Is any type of railing going to be installed? Too early to tell. Not to that level of design stage yet but it would be built low if built at all.

What if any new landscaping will there be? Would work with parks dept. but low native shrub/vegetation is what we’d expect in respecting neighbor’s views.

One new aspect to the plan is in respect of losing a few feet of public beach when the proposed wall is built in front of the old wall…

Due to the close proximity of the sewer main to the existing seawall structure, moving the alignment of the new seawall landward was assumed to increase the risks of potential failures during construction and significantly increase overall costs of the project. Therefore, the decision was made to move the alignment slightly waterward and mitigate for any nearshore (beach) area lost as a result of the project. A small amount (0.02 acres) of beach would be lost due to the footprint of the new seawall. To offset the loss of habitat, the project would reclaim adjacent beach habitat by removing a portion of riprap placed in the 1998 City of Seattle emergency repair. This entails lengthening the amount of seawall installed in order to stabilize the shoreline back to or near its pre- 1998 alignment and removing the waterward riprap and fill materials. The proposed ratio would be a 1:1 replacement as this habitat reclaims the lost habitat imposed by the new seawall and could begin to function immediately post-construction.

I think Emma herself would be pleased to know her overlook park could grow a little wider…

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This 1940’s photo shows Emma (on right) with her daughter-in-law Frankie posing beside the old family mansion that once stood where Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park is now. Courtesy of Bob Thomas who found the photo in an attic of a property he now owns.

Again, please contact Tanya for any unofficial (non-public) questions or concerns regarding this long overdue project,

Tanya M. King
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
206-764-6958 (office)
206-422-2679 (cell)
206-764-3769 (fax)
http://www.nws.usace.army.mil 

 

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Wind Storm: AFTERMATH!

Well, it appears we may have gotten away with one as long as a hill doesn’t slide away in the next day or so. The timing of the tides vs wind spared many a basements on the west side of the street.

Don’t tell this to Rudolph and Santa though. They were pretty blown away at the 50 knot gusts!

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Asked Mr. Menashe about how the Christmas village faired last night, blessed at just a few knock-downs and the toppling of the ornamental arch over the walk way. Not bad at all!

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Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Weather Apps/sites for predicting wind, waves & tides

We’ve used several weather sites and apps over the years in helping us predict when we get to go fishing in our driveway. Yep, we’re well into the season of higher tides and southerly winds. “Yuletides” measuring close to 13 feet will be gracing our shores starting on Christmas while the dreaded King Tides  (my definition is over 13 feet) start up later in January.

BDB compiles several different government weather sources to come up with the Barking Dog warning…

A “barking dog report” means that we are very closely watching the sound and preparing to possibly flood. It may or may not happen (hopefully not!!). Consider us your neighbor’s barking dog who’s barking at potential trouble.

This has me wondering if there are any free sites/apps that can provide all the info you want in an easy to understand format. It’s a safe bet that most weather sites are pulling their stats off of NOAA satellites/beacons so it’s just a matter of which site/app works for you. Here’s a few freebies that stood out to me…

Predict Wind includes a robust amount of weather info (includes predicted wave & tide heights) but totally whiffed in predicting our last big blow in November. They claim that their custom report/models are used by America’s Cup & Volvo Ocean sailors more than any other forecast applications. They’re predicting that we’ll be seeing peak gusts of 50 knots around 9:oo AM tomorrow…

PredictWind

iWindsurf was recommended by a neighbor and is now my go-to app. It accurately predicted our last couple of windy days off of Alki Pt. This snapshot of their Prediction Table is showing steady wind of 21 knots with peak gusts to 48 for tomorrow at 5:00 PM.

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There are several good sources for tide heights but I prefer Tide Graph HD from Brainware LLC. Here’s the height for Seattle @ 6PM tomorrow…

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Wave height is pretty much a factor of wind speed around here. The fetch or travel distances approx. the same from North to South.

Wind 10-20 Kt = 3 footers

Wind 15-25 Kt = 4 footers

Wind 25-35 Kt = 6 footers

Wind 35-45 Kt = up to 8 feet! (BTW, predicted by NOAA Marine forecast for Puget Sound/Hood Canal this Thursday evening)

 

IMG_3522 Beach Drive’s own Psycho of the Soup uses the IWindsurf app to map out wind speed forecasts for slaying the surf along the drive.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

M/V Puget fetching debris off Beach Drive

The US Army Corp of Engineers are busy hauling off one the largest flotillas of debris I’ve seen off our shores. As a frequent boater out here, I can’t imagine trying to maneuver around these half sunken hazards at night. Rudolph the Radar better be extra bright when he leads the Christmas ships on the 13th!

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Port of Manchester in the background…

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The M/V Puget has been dedicated for this type of debris removal in the Seattle District…

The Corps has continuing authority to study and undertake projects to remove and dispose of derelict objects such as sunken vessels, waterfront debris and derelict structures, and other sources of drift that may damage vessels or threaten public health, recreation, or the environment at publicly maintained commercial boat harbors. The harbor need not be, but usually is a Corps project. Congressional authorization is required for projects with Federal costs of $400,000 or more. (USACE Engineering Regulation 1105-2-100)

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Port of Manchester WA?

Yes, they actually do have an “official port” where their 3 elected members meet at the library once a month. Now they have something to really talk about, two 1000+ foot cargo ships anchored off their shores! Long term neighbors along Beach Drive have commented about never recalling cargo ships of this size tucking in behind Blake Island.

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The first cargo ship anchoring off Manchester was reported on November 6th by B-Town Blog as making an abrupt U-turn due to weather or mechanical issues…

“The ship Hyundai Force was going south to Tacoma at 1:15 p.m. when it made a U-turn and proceeded slowly in a northern direction.
When the ship made the U-turn it was just north of Three Tree Point.
As it made the U-turn, it blew its fog horn several times.
Clearly must be a response to the strong winds.
Note the trail of white behind the ship showing where it made its U-Turn.”

The Hyundia Force and the NYK Constellation are most likely hanging out waiting for the contract embattled Longshoreman in Tacoma to pay attention to them. The work slowdown has been stacking up ships and cargo up and down ports of the West coast. The Facebook page for Pier Trucker Seattle pretty much sums up how the slowdown is affecting our local transportation and exports (warning for explicit language).

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog