[Tweeters] mitigation/restoration objectives

Brien Meilleur brienm at live.com
Thu May 28 15:25:40 PDT 2009

Hello Tweets,

I was glad to read Dennis Paulson's note of concern a few days ago about recent changes at Bottle Beach State Park. I've had the same reaction for some time now and am hoping that we can build on Dennis's comments for a debate on this topic on tweeters.

Since moving back to Seattle in 2004, and revisiting many of my favorite birding locations of 30 years ago (esp. in the Kent Valley,

Bottle Beach, Magnuson Park), and often in areas with intense urbanization pressure, it's just not clear to me what the objectives are for the increasing number of wetland mitigation/restoration projects that I've seen at these sites and in Western Washington generally (e.g., there's another one being put in between Everett and Bellingham visible from I-5, and I just found a new one on 124th Street at Forbes Lake in Kirkland). All of these projects seem to fit a common pattern: relatively steep banks where ponds/pools have been created, massive plantings of Salix (willow) saplings, heavy use of bark chips, and dead logs and stumps strewn around willy-nilly, with some placed vertically with horizontal branches stuck in drilled holes of the main trunk. I try to imagine what these projects will look like in 10 or 15 years and I come up with images of large, impenetrable willow thickets with a few dead trunks sticking up through them, and with the pools/ponds frequented primarily by common ducks and Canada Geese. If these projects are being designed to restore and/or recover species, which species? Or do they have other objectives? Perhaps a person in the wetland mitigation/restoration area in Western Washington could help me answer these questions, because at the moment I can't conclude that they will be of any substantial recovery (or refugium) help to the avian species that could arguably benefit the most from wetland mitigation/restoration projects in Western Washington: shorebirds.

In this regard, (as a conservation professional, a birder, and a taxpayer) I would very much appreciate knowing who developed this increasingly adopted model, what are its objectives, who was and continues to be responsible for promulgating (and accepting) it, and what can be done by individuals and/or groups (e.g., Audubon, WOS) to provide the input that could potentially make such projects more effective for the species that could most benefit from them.

Brien Meilleur

Lake Forest Park, WA

brienm at live.com

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