The City is reviewing the Aquatic Invasive Species Plan for 2013 today. It’s plan fails to emphasize one of the most important and successful means of protecting against aquatic invasive species… protecting and restoring watershed ecosystems. Healthy, intact ecosystems create resiliency against environmental impacts, including invasive species. If introduced, invasive species are less likely to infest a healthy ecosystem. On the other hand, shoreline modification and development of any kind is scientifically linked to increased risk of an aquatic invasive species infestation.
Unfortunately, the Bloedel Master Plan Revision, which includes the inspection station, reflects an outdated, mechanistic approach to lake and shoreline functions that fails to consider the importance of a healthy ecosystem. An expensive engineered stormwater project was approved, while a small wetland and degraded wildlife corridor were not protected or restored, despite impacts that will result from increased intensity of use. The Master Plan design includes an extensive area of open beach, rather than vegetated shoreline buffers.
Vegetation and biodiversity are the foundation of a healthy environment. These are exactly the types of things that should have been required as mitigation under the Revised Master Plan mitigation.
I weighed in at every level of the public process, repeatedly requesting mitigation for the wetland and wildlife corridor and vegetated buffers, and was ignored. When I requested this early in the process, I was told it would be addressed later. At the end of the process, I was told that if the City Council intended to mitigate, it would have required this at the beginning of the process.
The City already recognizes to some degree the importance of holistic watershed function as part of the watershed property acquisition program, which has been established to be the most effective program at the lowest cost. Why isn’t this concept included in the Revised Park Master Plan or the Aquatic Invasive Species program?
The wetland and wildlife corridor should be protected as mitigation for increased impervious surface and intensity of use that will occur at Bloedel as a result of the inspection station, and road and parking improvements. Even if no mitigation is required, it should still be protected as an affordable and effective means of increasing ecosystem functions, such as water quality, habitat and biodiversity, which reduce risk of an invasive species infestation.