Flood hazard assessment of the Hoh River at Olympic National Park ranger station, Washington

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4198




Federal regulations require buildings and public facilities on Federal land to be located beyond or protected from inundation by a 100-year flood. Flood elevations, velocities and boundaries were determined for the occurrence of a 100-year flood through a reach, approximately 1-mi-long, of the Hoh River at the ranger station complex in Olympic National Park. Flood elevations, estimated by step-backwater analysis of the 100-year flood discharge through 14 channel and flood-plain cross sections of the Hoh River, indicate that the extent of flooding in the vicinity of buildings or public facilities at the ranger station complex is likely to be limited mostly to two historic meander channels that lie partly within loop A of the public campground and that average flood depths of about 2 feet or less would be anticipated in these channels. Mean flow velocities at the cross sections, corresponding to the passage of a 100-year flood, ranged from about 5 to over 11 ft/sec. Flooding in the vicinity of either the visitors center or the residential and maintenance areas is unlikely unless the small earthen dam at the upstream end of Taft Creek were to fail. Debris flows with volumes on the order of 100 to 1,000 cu yards could be expected to occur in the small creeks that drain the steep valley wall north of the ranger station complex. Historic debris flows in these creeks have generally traveled no more than about 100 yards out onto the valley floor. The potential risk that future debris flows in these creeks might reach developed areas within the ranger station complex is considered to be small because most of the developed areas within the complex are situated more than 100 yards from the base of the valley wall. Landslides or rock avalanches originating from the north valley wall with volumes potentially much larger than those for debris flows could have a significant impact on the ranger station complex. The probability that such landslides or avalanches may occur is unknown. Inspection of aerial photographs of the Hoh River valley revealed the apparent presence, along the ridge crest of the north valley wall, of ridge-top depressions--geologic features that are sometimes associated with the onset of deep-seated slope failures. However, evaluation of the potential landslide hazard associated with these depressions would require an onsite examination of the area by trained personnel. Such an effort was outside the scope of this study. (Author 's abstract)

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Flood hazard assessment of the Hoh River at Olympic National Park ranger station, Washington
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 22 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.