The Master Plan embraces environmental sustainability for several reasons. First, as the QIN is threatened by the effects of climate change and sea level rise, the Master Plan for a new community should endeavor to minimize its own contributions. Second, the cultural and economic importance of the salmon in the Quinault River requires that degradation of the river is minimized. Third, energy efficiency and independence pair well with renewable energy and can aid the village in being resilient to disaster and inclement weather.
As protection of salmon is a guiding principle of this Master Plan, the development covered in this plan should not harm or harass anadromous fish in the Quinault River or other fish-bearing streams. There is no fish habitat within the Relocation Area, but stormwater could potentially run off to such streams. Taholah receives 88 inches of rain annually, so proper handling of rainwater is essential. This stormwater could convey pollutants, sediments and runoff with elevated temperatures to streams, all of which could adversely affect fish populations. The most effective way to avoid harm and harassment of fish is to retain as much stormwater as possible in the Relocation Area. Any runoff leaving the Relocation Area should be treated to ensure that as many pollutants as possible are filtered out and that water does not leave the site at temperatures such that fish in the Quinault River would be subject to thermal stress.
To achieve these goals, stormwater infrastructure will adhere to Low Impact Development (LID) standards for stormwater facilities. Various LID methods that are appropriate to Taholah include:
- Rain barrels and cisterns
- Rainwater recycling
- Runoff storage beneath or integrated into parking lots, streets and sidewalks
- Avoidance of overbuilt parking lots
- Development without curbs and gutters
- Rain gardens, drywells and other facilities to increase infiltration
- Vegetated swales, filter strips and buffers
- Green roofs
- Porous pavements
- Native and drought tolerant landscaping
- Soil modification to increase infiltration capacity
- Wildflower meadows
For instance, given the desire to have traditionally used plants in the new village, the wildflower meadow could be populated by camas, bog Labrador tea and salmonberry. The climate of Taholah and the use of native plants will reduce the utility of rain barrels, but the barrels could still be useful in community gardens. LID facilities may be placed in yards, the public right-of-way, parking areas or parks. Features like rain gardens provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. The project team is investigated the feasibility of mimicking the prairies found on the reservation as a means of integrating stormwater treatment and culture.
A typical raindrop falling on a rooftop in the new village would travel from the building’s gutter either to a rain barrel, a small drywell connected to the gutter system or via a pipe or runoff to a bioswale along a street. The water would flow through the bioswale to a rain garden. While flowing through the bioswale and rain garden, much of the water will infiltrate into the soil. Temperatures will dissipate and pollutants will be filtered by plants in the swale or garden. If there is adequate flow to move the water through the swale and rain garden, the water will overflow into a drywell, a large perforated pipe placed vertically in the soil. The water will collect in the drywell and will be absorbed by the soils. While the top layer of soil in the new village does not readily absorb runoff, geotechnical tests indicate that the soils accept the water at an adequate rate when the drywells are sunk to a depth where sandy gravels are found underlying the relocation area. Thus, polluted water will not reach fish habitat in the Quinault River or the drainage south of the relocation area.
Sustainability through energy use can be achieved in two ways, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. The Master Plan suggests that the street, where possible, be aligned in an east-west direction to allow for the most passive solar gains. As a part of the Plan, QIN staff is creating a "Quinault House" model that will serve as an example of the measures that can be taken with homes and community buildings to reduce energy use, yet not be problematic given the area's climate.
QIN staff is working with various agencies, including the National Renewable Energy Lab, to determine the best strategies to incorporate renewable energy within the village. In the event of a disaster, it could take up to two years to restore electricity to Taholah given the expected devastation throughout Grays Harbor County. The powerlines run along State Route 109 within the tsunmai zone. Thus, it is imperative that there be an alternative energy source, or sources, to power the village in case of storm or emergency. The solution may be a combination of solar, wind and biomass power.
For more information or to give feedback and suggestions to the Project Team, please contact Kelsey Moldenke, Charles Warsinske or Sue Kalama by email or at (360) 276-8211, extensions 1038, 397, or 228 respectively. Artwork by Doug James.