To further "set the record straight" I want to make it clear that my questions/statements directed toward the USFWS biologist Bill Bridgeland during the Vector Board meeting on 1 May 2014 were in no way meant to discredit or misrepresent the South Slough Research Reserve’s salt marsh restoration program. Given that I was actively involved as a contractor in gathering much of the data you presented to the Board the other night, I know that the Kunz Marsh restoration was a resounding success. As regards marsh elevation and accretion, it is clear that marsh elevation declined or stabilized over the first six years or so after the dikes were removed, and then began to rise as the accretion rates and salt marsh plant abundance increased. Knowing that during the initial restoration effort marsh elevation can decline, I was concerned that the channelization project being proposed for the Ni-les’tun portion of the Bandon Marsh (at a possible cost of $500,000) might not ameliorate the mosquito problem, if subsidence was out pacing accretion and small depressions suitable for mosquito breeding recurred. I was encouraged to hear Bill say that he had five monuments in place on the marsh and had documented that accretion was increasing marsh elevation. I was also interested in what was going to be done with the dredge spoils (as much as 10,000 yd3 ) with creation of the channels and I learned that this material was to be distributed on site and, I am assuming, could be used to fill remaining low-lying areas that would be subject to retaining brackish water after a spring tide series.
As regards mosquito abundance off Hinch Rd. near the Kunz Marsh restorations sites up the Winchester Cr. arm of South Slough, my assessment is based on the three summers I worked in that area. I was surprised by the abundance of mosquitos in this area, but having dealt with mosquitos when working on my bottomland pasture I realized early on that the mosquitos at the Kunz Marsh site were a different species than the Anopheles spp. I had encountered on my pasture and that in fact they were summer salt marsh mosquitos (Aedes dorsalis). There was not a time when working in this area over those three summers that I and my crew did not have to repeatedly slather on repellent to keep from being "eaten alive" by mosquitos. Interestingly, we did not have to use repellent when collecting data on the monument sites and other vegetation "control" survey sites located to the north (most often upwind of the Kunz sites). So, it appeared that, as you pointed out at the Board meeting, mosquito abundance was somewhat localized, and as I mentioned to Bill during the previous meeting that the presence of those mosquitos did not cause the problems the USFWS is having to deal with because there was no one living in the area of the Kunz Marsh restoration site. Additionally, when conducting the plant surveys along transects extending from the Winchester Cr. channel inland to the upper reaches of the Kunz Marsh sites we noted mosquito larvae in abundance in brackish water pools. Unfortunately, none of the sampling methods I was tasked with performing to monitor invertebrate abundance were applicable to quantifying the abundance of adult or larval A. dorsalis abundance, so my assessment, like your’s, remains largely anecdotal. Furthermore, I suspect that with continued accretion and the increase in salt marsh plant abundance on the Kunz sites over the last ten years, the amount of habitat for A. dorsalis has been greatly reduced, and out of curiosity I plan to visit this area several times this summer to see if that is the case. But, in summary, to assert that there was not a significant increase in A. dorsalis population abundance related to the conditions on Kunz Marsh during the early stages of restoration strains credulity.
At present I am focused on whether or not the channelization project on the Bandon Marsh will ameliorate mosquito abundance to the point where mosquitos are again a minor nuisance to residents in Bandon and in the lower Coquille Valley. But I also have a personal stake in the outcome of the channelization project because the LNG folks have purchased the land that was once the Kentuck golf course, which they plan to inundate with bay water to mitigate for habitat loss that will occur during construction of the terminal’s ship berthing area on the North Spit of Coos Bay. The Kentuck golf course is less than a mile up wind of my home and that of a dozen other residents. The successful conversion of this land to a functional salt marsh that does not provide habitat for mosquitos will hinge on the outcome of channelization and the proper application of knowledge gained from the restoration efforts at the Bandon Marsh as well as the Kunz Marsh. Adscititiously, the mosquito problem on the Bandon Marsh should forewarn those that may be involved in the Kentuck restoration and for that matter the proposed China Camp Creek restoration of the potential adverse consequences of marsh restoration. Specifically, if these projects result in an increase in mosquito abundance that adversely affects even one nearby landowner, there will be grounds, in my opinion, to hold those responsible liable for damages.
Daniel H. Varoujean II
BOC---County Skeeter Meeting Wednesday June 25, 2014
Someone should have told the USFWS the Three Reasons Mosquitoes Suck
The Bandon Marsh Mosquito Farm
Mosquito Armageddon: One Mosquito Bite Can Change a Life Forever
BOC---County Mosquito Meeting Wednesday, June 11, 2014
BOC---County Mosquito Meeting in Bandon Thursday, May 29, 2014
American Mosquito Control Association Information on Mosquito Management
A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words
Contact Information to Make an Official Mosquito Report in Bandon
USFWS---Coos County Public Health Joint Press Release Bandon Marsh Mosquitoes
Natural Resources Committee Protecting the Rights of Property Owners from USFWS
USFWS---Bandon Mosquito Infestation was a Figment of the Imagination
USFWS---Moving Forward at the Bandon Marsh Mosquito Preserve
BOC---Public Meeting Vector Assessment & Control Advisory Committee May 1, 2014
Letter to Editor---They're Back, The Mosquitoes are here....
USFWS---Public Comment Integrated Marsh Management in Bandon by April 9, 2014
BOC---Shared State-County Services and Mosquito Abatement
USFWS---Post Card & News Release on Bandon Marsh Mosquito EA March 11, 2014
USFWS---Public Comment & Meeting for Bandon Mosquito Control March 18, 2014