McDonald Creek fish passage gets no bids again

Contractors say it’s too ‘intricate, tricky’

AGNEW — A fish passage improvement project at McDonald Creek south of U.S. Highway 101 in Agnew received no bids for the second year in a row, but Clallam County’s habitat biologist hopes the third time will be the charm.

“Maybe next year. My plan is we should know about some other money by December. Then we can put it out to bid in January,” said Rebecca Mahan, habitat biologist with the Clallam County Department of Community Development.

McDonald Creek crosses beneath U.S. Highway 101 and Old Olympic Highway approximately 8.8 miles east of Port Angeles. The project would be south of Highway 101.

The project is intended to rectify a long-known fish passage barrier and remove sources of fish mortality associated with a small concrete irrigation diversion dam. The project also is supposed to improve habitat conditions, sediment and wood transport in the creek.

It would involve notching the dam, installing a new fish passage structure, and constructing rock weirs and pools below the dam. The existing open diversion canal would be replaced by a buried pipeline with a new head gate and debris rack, and the existing fish screen would be relocated to the new head gate area.

Mahan told the county commissioners in 2022 that the project would open up 6.1 miles of habitat to Endangered Species Act-listed steelhead and 4.5 miles to coho.

The Clallam County commissioners approved putting the project out to bid at their March 16 meeting and bids were due by April 4.

Mahan said she asked contractors why they didn’t bid on the project and was told it required “intricate, tricky” concrete work.

Mahan said extending the project’s permits and timing shouldn’t be a problem. She is exploring combining the project with two similar projects in Eastern Washington to make it more attractive and viable.


Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@

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