Seawall project starting sooner than expected

Construction of the Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Seawall Project was projected to begin this Fall according to BDB sources from the Army Corp of Engineers. Yet, it appears that construction, ahem, “design” work will commence within a week. This info sign was just installed at the park….


Anticipated impact to neighbors and the public will include drilling/boring equipment taking soil samples from numerous locations along the 450′ stretch of seawall. Constructing the actual wall has been updated to “TBD”.

Sooner the better is my opinion for getting this done. Fall might be too late for the tattered original structure.

From the City of Seattle’s press release:

Soil borings and sampling at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the City of Seattle, and Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) are collaborating on the Emma Schmitz seawall repair. Together we are ensuring a successful cost-sharing program to restore shoreline protection at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook in West Seattle. SPR entered into a Project Partnership Agreement with the Corps for the replacement of the seawall. The Corps is responsible for the design of the seawall, and one of the steps in the design process is to take soil borings to inform the final design. Drill equipment will be on site for several days starting the week of June 4.

Built circa 1927, the 450-foot stretch of seawall supports important City and County infrastructure, including a 54-inch sewer main, various Seattle Public Utilities drainage and wastewater lines, and Beach Drive Southwest road. The seawall is badly deteriorated, with a 30 percent chance of failure in the event of severe storm or tidal conditions. The new seawall will be built approximately 2 feet seaward and 2 feet higher than the existing wall, thus significantly improving the grade of this scenic viewpoint for the enjoyment of park users as well as ensuring long-term stability.

The implementation cost of the recommended plan is estimated to be more than $2 million, and will be cost-shared with 65 percent federal funds and 35 percent non-federal funds. The non-federal sponsor, SPR, is responsible for all lands, easements, right-of-ways, relocations, and/or disposal areas which are controlled by the sponsor.

The Corps is designing the seawall, and SPR will be designing the park amenities on top of the wall area. SPR will be holding a public meeting to provide information and gather input on these park amenities.

For more information on the boring and soil collection please visit http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Programs-and-Projects/Projects/Alki-Erosion-Control-Project-Seattle-WA/  or SPR Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook page: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/emma-schmitz-memorial-overlook

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Emma Schmitz Memorial seawall construction Fall 2018

The Seattle City Council finally put the OK stamp for construction to begin on the Emma Schmitz seawall project. If it holds, construction is due to begin around storm season, I mean Fall of 2018. Seattle Parks and the Seattle Division of the Army Corp of Engineers have been tossing plans around since 2013. BDB posted extensively about the needed repairs for years as the wall has wasted away.

King 5 is filming a live report tonight announcing the final approval of construction.

Update: Here is King 5’s coverage.

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Bulkhead Bashing

a-shore-thingThe December 2016 issue of Seattle Magazine has an article written by Maria Dolan on the effects of bulkheads on the environment. I’m not able to find a link to “A Shore Thing” at the time of posting this, or I’d be sharing it with you now. 🙂  If you’d like to read it now, it looks like you’ll have to pick up the December issue.

The photo is what first caught my eye since it features Beach Drive homes on bulkheads by Mee Kwa Mooks. This spot is not far from where the City has been talking about replacing the eroding seawall along Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint. Our intrepid reporter, Scupper, wrote about the seawall almost three years ago…which has had band-aid repairs at most.

The article talks about how homeowners should consider removing their bulkheads. I would guess that for many of  the homes along Beach Drive, this would not be a viable option, as most the homes don’t have enough land or are do not have a high enough bank to accommodate a shore.

It will be interesting to see what winds up happening to the deteriorating bulkhead along Emma Schmitz.

Highly anticipated Cyclone Donald not so HUGE

 

Looked just like another beauty day on Beach Drive around 2:00

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Things began to change up a bit at 3:00 on the horizon and you could see the water starting to churn up on the other side of the Sound due to easterly winds…

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White caps starting to form just after 4:00 and the tide looks a hell of a lot higher than the tables suggest (11.9). I’m guessing that there’s a bit of coastal flooding adding to the height…

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First burst of wind at 4:40 and finally seeing the rollers coming in from Tacoma at 5:00…

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Almost 6:00 and only a few slurps over the bulkhead.Looks like we dodged a bullet as far as flooding is concerned on Beach Drive SW. Now it’s time to kick back & enjoy the show with a hot toddy.

Update: Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook seawall project

It’s been since December 2014 that the public comment period ended in regard to the Alki Coastal Erosion project spearheaded by the Seattle District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project outlines a plan to replace a stretch of seawall that precariosly holds back the 50″ diameter sewage pipe that flows around 2 million gallons of wastewater per day.

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A representative from the Army Corps Public Affairs Office promptly responded to my inquiry in wondering what the delay was for getting construction started….

“According to our project manager, we received a letter of concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Officer and we sent our feasibility report and appendices to our higher headquarters in Portland June 1 for review and approval. We are now waiting for them to review – if they determine we’ve adequately addressed their comments, then we’ll be ready to get going on the Design and Implementation phase. We are anticipating approval this summer.”

I’m not sure if “approval this summer” will result in any near-term progress. However, I can tell you that the Seattle Parks Department’s truck drivers are getting pretty nervous how the seawall is holding up every time they park near it to backfill the erosion

The newly refinished Barton Pump Station and nearly completed Murray Ave Station won’t do much good if the main artery to the West Point Treatment Plant ruptures due to a collapsing seawall. All of us living down near the beach will know first hand the meaning of “it all rolls downhill”.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Reader asks about park bench replacement at Beach Drive & Jacobsen

A very popular rest stop at the south end of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook took a tumble from corrosion back on February 23rd (shouldn’t have eaten that last bite). Neighbors and out-of-towners have enjoyed watching the scenery under the huge “Raptor Tree” that Eagle & Osprey often use to spy on prey. Love that tree!

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Appears that the 2 legged benches are all failing at the weld just under the bench. There a few more with the same design near the drinking fountain that had caution tape applied immediately after the Jacobsen bench toppled . The tape has since come off and the older benches still stand… barely

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The newer 4 legged butt rest looks like a much better design for being near the saltwater…

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As far as replacement, we reported a few years back on plans to rebuild that entire section of the deteriorating seawall. No bench replacement or additions were to happen until the seawall issue gets solved. Construction was intended to start last Summer but the design work was never finalized. A response from the Army Corp of Engineers back in November 2015 didn’t show much progress.

 Unfortunately I don’t have any updates at this point. We are still working through our feasibility phase process before we can move into final design.

I have a current email out to the Army Corp asking for any further progress & will update as soon as they respond.  Meanwhile, the storms keep pounding it and the park department continues to backfill the erosion.

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Picture above taken on the stormy morning of 3/10/16… photo below was furnished by a Beach Drive neighbor the very next morning. Park department workers mentioned that they really didn’t like parking their heavy equipment on the slumping strip of grass which precariously covers  the 54″ sewer line carrying 50 million gallons of sewage per day!

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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…

OmiSchmitz

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

Sunny flash-back Thursday on Beach Drive

The super fine folks at the the Southwest Seattle Historical Society dug up another vintage photo for us to enjoy…

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The caption read: “Beach area below Jacobsen Dr on the left approximate location of Emma Schmitz and the houses on what was the orginal orchard area (of the Schmitz estate).”

I lined up the houses and vacant lots in the photo to put the circa between 1921-25. It appears that the old seawall was quite a bit higher and set back further than the current seawall constructed in 1927.  The one remaining mystery of this historic photo is the house(s) to the far north/left. Are they the houses at the north end of the park or were homes at one time built on the wider strip of land of the park? I’m thinking the cameras were just that much better in the 20’s 🙂

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The above photo was taken yesterday at low tide. The kids were splashing around where the old sewer/run-off  structure is now. If you’re thinking the water must’ve been freezing and it must’ve been some sort of a double-dog-dare, think again! I measured the water temp in the shallows to be around 75 degrees…no fool’n!!

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As far as the “original orchard” is concerned, a life long resident in the area told me that this is likely the last remaining fruit tree still standing from the original Schmitz family estate (now Mee-Kwa-Mooks park)…

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Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog