City Has No Love For Fish and WildlifePermalink +
Thu, Mar 29, 2012, 9:32 pm // Wendy Harris
Development planned for Bloedel Park is of sufficient scope to require amendment to the City Comprehensive Plan. While inadequate information has been released to the public, I do know that Lake Whatcom, Bloedel Donovan Park and an adjacent wetland are “Fish and Wildlife Conservation Areas.” BMC 188.8.131.520 applies to waters of the state, lakes, and “land useful or essential for preserving connections between habitat blocks and open spaces.”
The City Code requires mitigation for alteration to habitat conservation areas that achieves “equivalent or greater biologic and hydrologic functions and shall include mitigation for adverse impacts upstream or downstream of the development proposal site. Mitigation shall address each function affected by the alteration to achieve functional equivalency or improvement on a per function basis.” BMC 16.16.490.
Why, then, is the Parks Department proposing amendments to the Bloedel-Donovan Master Plan without consideration of, or mitigation for, fish and wildlife impacts? Increased development, with a new building, a new dock, new trails and roads, softer and more accessible shoreline areas, increased boat and car parking, a new watercraft permitting station, and increased Staff presence, in totality, increase use of land and water by humans and dogs.
The Park abuts one of the only remaining Lake wetlands. As such, increased Park development will likely impact a rare urban habitat that is of high value to local wildlife species. Moreover, the Park and wetland provide habitat connectivity to Whatcom Creek and Bellingham Bay, as well as forested areas of the watershed that connect with the Chuckanut corridor. This habitat is of particular value for genetic exchange, and therefore, species survival.
The City lacks a comprehensive wildlife conservation plan that identifies and protects habitat connectivity areas, or plant and species diversity. And no mitigation was proposed for the new dock, despite knowledge that over water structures impair ecosystem function, and also have on-going cumulative impacts once constructed, requiring compensatory mitigation. And contrary to allegations by the Whatcom Rowing Association, kayaks have significant impact on fish and wildlife due to their ability to navigate close to shorelines, disturbing habitat and allowing humans to visit locations that are otherwise difficult to reach.
The Parks Department should not develop shorelines for human use while ignoring the needs of other species that share the land and water. The land speaks first. Why isn’t the Parks Department listening?
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Thu, Mar 29, 2012, 9:32 pm // Wendy HarrisDevelopment at Bloedel Park ignores impacts to important shoreline habitat
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