December 26, 2005

 

We applaud your continued fast-ferry-communications with Rich Passage property owners.  With significant interest, we have read your latest November, 2005 brochure concerning fast ferry operations, recent tests, & future research plans.  We offer the following thoughts, opinions, and questions for your consideration:

 

The condition of our beach seems to be recovering nicely since the termination of Spirit test runs in 2005.  The gravel, shells, and other small debris have returned to approximately the same condition, depth & slope as after cessation of Chinook/Snohomish operations, and before Spirit tests.  High wind storms of Christmas, 2005 weekend have had no perceivable effect on our beach condition.  In late summer/fall 2005, we thought that “our” kelp, severely damaged during Chinook/Snohomish operations, was starting to recover.  Our winter-resident-flock of common golden eyes has now returned, & they appear to be diving to feed normally.  In 2006, we are hopeful that we will again be able to see floating kelp.

 

In your November brochure, reference is made to a “WSF Criterion” as an “acceptable” level of Max Wake Energy.  That standard seems to be without consideration of any other attribute of a wake, such as its wave period, or of beach composition, shape, or slope.  Especially when operating at high speed, Chinook/Snohomish, Condor Express, & Spirit generate relatively long period waves in their multiple wakes per passing.  It has been our observation that the “undertow” preceding these long period wave crests may be a root cause for significant erosion of sand & gravel down beach slopes toward low tide lines, even at moderate, or even low, wake energy levels.  Previously, we have mentioned this concept to you & others, but we have yet to see it directly addressed in any Rich Passage wake studies.  What is the “science” supporting the WSF selection of a particular Wake Energy Level as the sole wake attribute for determining acceptable high-speed ferry operations?

 

The proposed research plan for dumping sand/gravel on selected beaches does not seem prudent to us.  If you already know, or strongly suspect, that future fast-boat tests are going to erode beaches, it seems to us that the tests should not be run.  The basic, well-established boater’s responsibility to not cause damage with his wake would presumably preclude such a plan.  Placing significant quantities of exotic materials onto any beach is also likely to negatively affect existing marine flora and fauna.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington State agencies (Fisheries, etc), & the City of Bainbridge Island all place very restrictive limits on what waterfront home owners are allowed to do to their beaches, docks, bulkheads, & waterfront shore lands.  It would be highly unlikely for property owners to get permission to re-build (reclaim) any property that had been eroded away by wakes, tides, or weather.  This regulatory reality was the primary reason that several waterfront owners resorted to building bulkheads in order to limit future erosion of their shore lands.  The proposed “nourishment” of selected beaches would seem to be incompatible with long-established regulatory practices of several jurisdictions.  We suggest that you invite representatives of applicable waterfront regulatory agencies (Federal, State, & Local) to, and encourage their participation in, future wake research public forums.

 

We look forward to continued & timely communications to/from affected property owners about your Rich Passage wake research.  One, or both, of us plan to attend one of your January, ’06 “community” meetings.

 

Sincerely,

 

Don & Chris Bennett, Point White Drive NE, Bainbridge Island

            

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December 2, 2005

 

I believe I spoke to you at the first Passenger Only Fast Ferry Study public meeting on Bainbridge.  Your November, 2005 study update newsletter discusses future plans for a Beach-Gravel Transport Project.  Our home is situated right at Point White, 3066 Point White Drive, and we have lost all our beach protection.  Prior to the Chinook and Snohomish Fast Ferries our beach had 24”+ of sand covered by 6” to 12” of beach gravel capped by 6’ to 10” diameter boulders.  It’s all gone except for some gravel and sand at the base of the bulkhead and some scatter boulders on the beach.  We would like to be considered for inclusion in your Beach-Gravel Transport Project!

 

Thank you for your consideration,

 

Rich McDonald

            

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September 9, 2005

 

I've been meaning to write for months to comment on not only the wake size, but on the added noise level of the fast ferry.

 

The smaller, faster ferries are noisy, and are a nuisance to the Puget Sound, not just Rich Passage.

 

We live up on the bluff above Point White Drive on Rich Passage, on Bainbridge Island, and these are my observations, and comments:

 

* The noise level of the Fast Ferry is much louder than the larger Washington State Ferry that currently slips through the passage quietly and gracefully, almost inaudibly. Your test vessel is loud enough to wake me up regularly at night, and is becoming a nuisance in its own right.

 

*When enjoying a quiet walk on the beach with my son on the point, the Fast Ferry came through and was loud enough to silence our talk, and spoil the quiet nature of our beach walk. Secondly, the wake looked about the same to us.

 

*The last point I'd like to make is one of relativity.

The current ferry run from Bremerton to Seatlle seems realistic compared to other commutes. For example, during commute hours, it takes 45 to an hour, to get from Seattle to Microsoft campus at Redmond. Also, it takes about 45 minutes to get from Bainbridge to Seattle. Therefore a 55 minute commute from Bremerton to Seattle seems reasonable based on its relative location. If people want a shorter commute, they should consider moving closer in.

 

14 passages a day (7 runs, both directions) is alot of noise to listen to. It would definitely have an impact on the environment, as well as the quality of life for all the people living in this area.

 

I believe the Fast Ferry is trading one kind of problem for another insidious kind of problem. Noise pollution.

 

Sincerely,

Kristin Easterbrook, Rich Passage

            

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September 7, 2005

 

Thanks for your reply.  The most significant change that we have noticed in beach topography (since the testing has started) in a fairly rapid buildup and migration (to the East) of a large crescent shaped- water level -dune which is affecting the creek outlet.  This dune build up seems to be forcing continued erosion of the upper beach, especially in front of the boat house located on the North side of  Beach Drive.

 

 Regards,

 

 Jim and Debbie Ellis, Beach Drive, Port Orchard

            

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July 12, 2005

 

Approaching 2.5 months since the cessation of the Spirit research test runs, we are pleased to see that the gravel, shells, etc on the beach by our home are continuing to migrate towards their pre-test conditions.  Although the beach slope has not yet quite recovered to pre-test levels, it appears to be headed in that direction.

 

Don & Chris Bennett, Point White, Bainbridge Island

            

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May 14, 2005

 

In the past two weeks since the SPIRIT vessel ceased research test operations thru Rich passage, we have observed the following changes on the beach near our home:

 

 (1)  At extremely low tides, we can now see some kelp trying to re-grow.  It is not yet nearly as robust, or extensive, as it was before the Chinook Class fast ferry operations, but it is really encouraging for us to see that at least some of the Sound flora is trying to make a comeback.

 

 (2) The unusual sand area that developed on our beach during Spirit operations, & on the Madigan’s beach immediately west of us, has now been covered with small/fine gravel (except very near the toe of our bulkheads).  Also, about half of the exotic rocks on the beach that were exposed during Spirit operations are now again covered with gravel.  Many of the white clam shells that were eroded away from our bulkhead toes during Spirit operations have returned to locations very close to the face our bulkheads.  With this trend, we are cautiously optimistic that the accretion of gravel will continue evolving towards the desirable beach gravel, shells, & contour situation that existed before the SPIRIT test runs.

 

 We will report future observed changes as they occur.

 

 Don & Chris Bennett, Point White, Bainbridge Island

            

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April 14, 2005

 

Thanks for taking time & considerable effort to explain what you think is happening on the beach adjacent to our property.  Is there a plan for measuring beach profiles after the current sequence of Spirit trial runs are terminated?   Are there any firm plans to run further trials (post April ’05) with Spirit or with any another boat?

 

Thanks again for your info & assesments,

 

Don Bennett, Point White, Bainbridge Island

            

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April 11, 2005

 

Thanks for sharing the survey data from our beach.

 

The 4A beach contour on our property seems to have changed quite a lot in March.  From your data, I read a change of more than 1 foot erosion near the bulkhead & about a foot buildup about 30 feet seaward from the bulkhead face, all in less than one month.  This type of slope change is very similar to the overall changes on our beach when the Chinook class ferries were running at fast speeds.  What is your general assessment?  Do you think that the wakes from recent test operations of Spirit at relatively high tide levels are responsible for the beach slope change?

 

Thanks again for continued communications

 

Don Bennett, Point White Bainbridge Island

            

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March 23, 2005

 

As we walked the beach with Luis on Monday, we realized that the extent of the damage from the wake is highly significant.  This is particularly important given that the trials have only been for approximately two months, and not as frequent as the actual service might be.  If the beach has been this severely impacted by only two months of trials at a lower daily rate than potential actual service, we have a huge problem here.  It looks to us like the erosion is only perhaps one rock above the lowest level of the bulkhead, and will quickly undermine the bulkhead if allowed to continue.  We certainly hope that you are able to document this and alter or cease the study.

 

Thank you,

 

Marsha M. and William E. Madigan

3220 Point White Dr NE

            

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May 14 , 2005

 

In the past two weeks since the SPIRIT vessel ceased research test operations through Rich Passage, we have observed the following changes on the beach near our home:

 

   1. At extremely low tides, we can now see some kelp trying to re-grow. It is not yet nearly as robust, or extensive as it was before the Chinook Class fast ferry operations, but it is really encouraging for us to see that at least some of the Sound flora is trying to make a comeback.

   2. The unusual sand area that developed on our beach during SPIRIT operations, and on the Madigan's beach immediately west of us, has now been covered with small/fine gravel (except very near the toe of our bulkheads). Also, about half of the exotic rocks on the beach that were exposed during SPIRIT operations are now again covered with gravel. Many of the white clam shells that were eroded away from our bulkhead toes during SPIRIT operations have returned to locations very close to the face of our bulkheads. With this trend, we are cautiously optimistic that the accretion of gravel will continue evolving towards the desirable beach gravel, shells, & countour situation that existed before SPIRIT test runs.

 

We will report future observed changes as they occur.

 

Don and Chris Bennett - Point White, Bainbridge Island

            

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May 7, 2005

 

This is a follow up to my phone call of 4-5 days ago, which was not returned.

 

I reported that my beach gravel/sand had gradually eroded at about the 8-9 ft. tide level, until the last week of April it had reached down to the shale bedrock.

 

This is the first time in two years that it reached this low a level.

 

It appears somewhat to resemble the Bainbridge Island station 7B profile, showing considerable losses near its high tide mark. The difference being that apparently station 7B may have a slightly higher bulkhead elevation (if any) than I do. Mine is at about the 10-11 ft. tide elevation.

 

I am located at the end of Wynn Jones Rd. between stations 9 and 10.

 

Please come down and take a look before it gets covered again.

 

Thanks, Karl Duff, Port Orchard

            

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April 29, 2005

 

We live on the water south of Enetai Creek in East Bremerton.

 

After watching the level of our foreshore beach erode and continue to do so since the testing had started, I contacted Kitsap Transit to find out about contact information to report the condition. They provided me copies of your newsletter which provided information about the testing and the contact email addresses.

 

The condition on our beach is reminiscent of when the Washington State Fast ferries were running. This has resulted in an approximate 18-24 inch drop in the foreshore beach level. Pictures of our beach are below. We live a couple of houses south of the picture identified as #1 in your March Newsletter which also shows the erosion (and the same dock as in the first picture below). Please note that your description of the condition associated with this picture is misleading. The sediment has not been pushed up the bank as you have indicated. The beach has actually been eroded away from the relatively undisturbed remaining portion of the foreshore that the tide has not reached. Other signs of the erosion is the sand in the foreshore region. This is normally gravel. Our beach is more susceptible to wave action when the boat is heading from north to south where the wave travel direction is normal to the beach.

            

 

Looking north.

Gravel has moved offshore. Profile of beach is less slope than before testing started.

 

(Picture taken 4-29-05)

            

 

Looking south.

 

(Picture taken 4-29-05)

 

Brian Mandak - East Bremerton

            

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April 7, 2005

 

We were working in the yard today, April 6, 2005 and the test boat went past and broke the seaweed away from the rocks and rolled sand and gravel all the way up to our bulkhead.

 

The tide was just above the base of the bulkhead. It would be good for you to come here and watch when the boat goes by with water on the beach.

 

Ayvon and Dave Card - Port Orchard

            

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April 6, 2005

 

I think I've seen your "Research" vessels traveling back and forth through Rich Passage between Bainbridge Island and Port Orchard. I have to admit, without a doubt that, whatever vessels you are running, they do NOT leave a significant wake. It's kind of disappointing because a few year's ago my sons loved jumping on those huge wakes left behind by the WSF Passenger-only ferry. I've watched, and whatever you are doing is moving in the right direction. No big wakes on my beach. Good luck to you - I think you've found a technology that will work.

 

Anne Lowery - Bainbridge Island