A major effort Friday night by local contractors, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and crews from the Olympic Corrections Center saved the ancestral village of the Hoh Indian tribe from flood, according to the tribe.
At the mouth of of the Hoh River on the Olympic Peninsula, the old village is already designated a tsunami zone and is uninhabited. The tribe has moved to higher ground near Highway 101. However, Hoh Tribal Chairman Maria Lopez said some of the buildings in the village are 100 years old and part of the tribal heritage.
Preparations to protect the village began early last week when grave weather reports began coming in. In a rare and potentially devastating combination, the Hoh River approached flood stage as high tides, strong winds and large ocean swells drove ocean waves over the beach into the old village.
Late Thursday afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers dispatched a team of specialists to the Hoh to monitor the situation.
Friday afternoon, crews from the Olympic Corrections Center began filling sandbags while the Corps engaged local contractors Bruch & Bruch, Seton Construction and Randy Parker Logging to begin hauling and placing riprap rock.
David Hanna, Public Works Director for the Hoh Tribe said, “This was a complicated operation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did it fast.”
Working in fierce winds and driving rains, the team hauled and placed 750 tons of riprap between nightfall Friday night and sunup today. When the tides, wind and waves peaked at 9 a.m., the rock held. Only foam and spray went over the hastily constructed wall.