Columbia River Gorge Cultural Resource Protection
Wind Erosion Control P r o j e c t
The Dalles Oregon, Fall 2011
site in the Columbia River Gorge. Vegetative cover is Nature’s way of protecting the
earth’s surface from erosion. Wind and water erosion in the Columbia River Gorge are at
times intense. With approximately 75 inches of rainfall a year and wind speeds that
commonly reach 50-70 miles per hour for sustained periods, and at times during the
winter, have at times been rated at 100 mph.
Many cultural and archaeological sites—prehistoric and historic—remain along the
about the people who lived in the region before us—how they lived, how they interacted
with the land, and what their concerns, motivations, and priorities were. In many cases,
these artifacts are more than interesting historical objects. They are often sacred to the
people who left them and to their descendants. Thousands of ancient sites along the
Columbia River Basin have been exposed to wind and water erosion since they were
buried. The creation of dams in the era of the New Deal flooded or deposited silt on
sacred sites near the river. But only in the last 100 years have a majority of the sites been
exposed to the hands of looters.
This project had many challenges from a construction standpoint, and a access problem.
No motorized equipment was allowed on the site so a helicopter was used to transport the
filled Envirolok bags and components. All other material was air lifted to the site and a
dry application of PermaMatrix, native seed and organic fertilizer was used. Envirolok
was utilized as a mattress to hold a sand/topsoil mix in place. By keeping the growing
medium in place the native vegetation can thrive and sustain itself.
Army Corp of Engineers coordinated the environmentally-sensitive solution by working
with all the stakeholders and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
Tribe Members reaction,
“This is a great thing we are doing here today, putting to rest our ancestors has been a high priority”.
Agency reaction: “This is a great solution for sensitive areas”.
“It gives us as regulatory agents more tools to work with, we look forward to implementing this system on other projects”.