The birds, a Washington State Priority Species, are “branching” out onto limbs of nearby conifer trees, practicing flight by flapping their huge wings and making a loud ruckus. Others continue to hang out in their nests, perhaps waiting for a sign. Speaking of signs, we have Bellingham Public Works Department to thank for heightening the fence in front of the colony and adding signage that advises people to keep their dogs on leash, avoid loud noises, and refrain from bothering the herons while they’re trying to forage for food on exposed tidelands. Thank you, Public Works!
As readers of NWCitizen know, the city has been putzing around with heron protection for 20 years without sealing the deal to create a protected reserve. I ask you: Where else in the city of Bellingham is there a wildlife reserve? To my knowledge, the Post Point Great Blue Heron Reserve would be the first of its kind, and what a tremendous asset for all of us to enjoy. The Greenways Fund, which Seth Fleetwood helped create, stipulates that its monies can be used to protect wildlife habitat. Have we ever done so? In 2016, the Greenways Advisory Committee unanimously recommended that the city acquire the privately-held land next to the herons’ nesting trees to further protect the birds. Nothing changed, and meanwhile, there is still an application pending in the planning department to subdivide the larger lot in question with the presumed intent to build at least one house too close to the nests. Part of this plat is within the 300-foot non-disturbance, safety zone for the birds recommended by the wildlife biologist hired by the city, and adopted by the city as per the signage.
Clearly there are many pressing issues on people’s minds these days, but finishing the job of protecting the Great Blue Herons NOW as the Class of 2020 leaves their nests, is a feel-good act that we can all get behind. There are willing sellers of the two remaining undeveloped lots, the political will to purchase as demonstrated by unanimous consent of City Council last year, funds available through Greenways, and the desire of many bird watchers and nature lovers to see the creation of the Post Point Great Blue Heron Reserve. Please contact the mayor now.