[Tweeters] Montlake Fill Mitigation and impact on birders

Keith Unterschute seakeithrun at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 09:14:20 PDT 2016

Birdie Friends:

I sent an email to WSDOT regarding what seemed to be a reduction in bird
watching options at the Montlake Fill due to the 520 Mitigation efforts. I
have included their response below. It is difficult to say what birding will
be like at the Fill once the mitigation work is completed. Time will tell.


Thank you for contacting the
<http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/About/UBNA.htm> SR 520 Union
Bay Natural Area Wetland Mitigation Project regarding birder access at the
Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA) site. I've provided a brief overview of the
UBNA project below and answers to your questions.

The UBNA mitigation project is a partnership between the University of
Washington (UW) and the Washington State Department of Transportation
(WSDOT) to create and enhances existing wetlands and replace invasive and
non-native plants with native wetland plants. When complete, the UBNA
mitigation project will have added and enhanced approximately 22 acres of
wetlands and buffer areas at the UBNA site.

Sensitive staking on site

Prior to construction, WSDOT went through an extensive environmental process
to receive the necessary permits for UBNA construction. Part of the
environmental process required staking of sensitive areas at UBNA to protect
them from trail users and high-impact construction activities throughout
construction. The staking primarily protects flora and fauna around the

After construction ends in early 2017, WSDOT will remove the majority of the
sensitive staking onsite. The site will then be transferred to the
University of Washington (UW) to monitor and maintain the new wetlands and
wetland buffer areas. At that time, the UW will add signage that limits
public access to trails to protect the sensitive areas onsite.

Birder viewpoints

During construction, bird watching will be limited to the areas outside the
sensitive areas, primarily from the trail and benches currently onsite.
After construction is complete, the plantings onsite will be less dense,
particularly near Shoveler's pond. There are also areas that will not have
plantings as they are already established natural areas. This design was
developed in collaboration with the Audubon Society to increase the amount
of shorebird habitat onsite.

Attached is a map that shows the approximate locations of new plantings
after construction is complete onsite. Please note that the attached map is
meant to provide a conceptual idea of where the plantings are located and
onsite plantings may vary slightly from the attached plan.

Thanks again for contacting us. I hope this information was helpful.


Kathryn Murdock


SR 520 Union Bay Natural Area Mitigation Project

Washington State Department of Transportation

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