About Jamie K. Donaldson

Jamie K. Donaldson is a long-time activist for peace, social justice, and the environment. She was the founder of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center in downtown Bellingham, and is retired from the University of British Columbia. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Bellingham Food Bank, and is a volunteer park steward. Jamie is a member of the North Cascades Audubon Society and local Sierra Club.

By: Jamie K. Donaldson (11)

One Last Chance for Permanent Protection for the City’s Great Blue Herons?

By

 After twenty years of fits and starts, there is a time-sensitive opportunity for the city of Bellingham to finally create the Post Point Great Blue Heron Reserve. City Council and Mayor Fleetwood need to finalize the purchase from two willing sellers of the privately-owned land adjacent to the heron colony. Both the prior City Council and mayor agreed to the purchase but nothing happened. And to be clear, no further development can occur on these lots on Shorewood Drive without threatening the existence of Bellingham’s only remaining Great Blue Heron nesting site. 

The urgency comes because, although city representatives have spoken with the two owners, no action to purchase the properties has been made public by the sitting council. One of the lots was on the open market earlier this year and quickly attracted an offer pending a feasibility study for development. Heron advocates recently learned that the deal fell through, however, and that the owner has again offered to sell the lot to the city for heron protection. It is beyond the realm of possibility that this opportunity will come around again. The city must act now to purchase this lot to the east of the nesting core, and the much-larger parcel to the west, which is not currently on the open market. 

Why does this matter? Because, according to wildlife biologist and heron expert Ann Eissinger (who monitors the Point Point nesting site for the city), there is evidence that heron colonies in the Puget Sound, particularly in the southern part of the sound, are beginning to fail due to intensifying development and habitat fragmentation. The health of existing Great Blue Heron colonies in the northern part of the sound, i.e., in Skagit and Whatcom Counties, becomes more important for the success of the species as a whole in our part of the world. The three remaining heron colonies in Whatcom County, including at Post Point (the other two are on Robertson Road and near Drayton Harbor), don’t benefit from a holistic conservation and management approach that is afforded to the Skagit County heron colonies by the Skagit Land Trust. Here in Bellingham we’re on our own to provide the most robust protections possible for the city’s only heron colony.

Fortunately for us, the Post Point nesting site is holding steady at 40+ nests, and could potentially expand if the properties adjacent to it were incorporated into a protected reserve where additional habitat restoration, including the planting of additional nesting trees, could be undertaken. As Ann Eissinger put it, the city has an opportunity to make “an investment in a natural, biodiverse hotspot within the city.”  Let’s do it.  Finally.

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For background information on the 20-year effort to provide permanent protection for the Post Point Great Blue Heron colony, see previous articles by Jamie K. Donaldson and John Servais here on Northwest Citizen. 

About Jamie K. Donaldson

Citizen Journalist • Member since Apr 03, 2019

Jamie K. Donaldson is a long-time activist for peace, social justice, and the environment. She was the founder of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center in downtown Bellingham, and is retired [...]

Thomas Gilmore

Oct 22, 2021

Can someone explain the City of Bellingham’s decade long delay in aquiring the lots to protect the Post Point Heron Colony?    How much longer will the city council  and the mayor delay on this very important environmental issue?  Before the November election it would be wise to know how every city council member would vote on the heron land aquisition!  

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Tip Johnson

Oct 22, 2021

Well, yes, they should buy it.  Long ago.  They are just waiting to add more density. So many “postcard” pictures of Bellingham feature these iconic birds.

But make sure there is no plan for a public trail.  Seth would then surely sell it for added density.

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Michael Riordan

Oct 25, 2021

Can anyone explain the City of Bellingham government?

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David A. Swanson

Oct 25, 2021

 

Hi Michael, 

 

The explanation may be found in the reply to Jon Humphry’s comment on the Broadband Access piece re the 2020 census counts of the Lummi Nation and the Hopi Reservation:

C. Wright Mills got it right at the national level in his 1956 book, “The Power Elite.” And by extrapolating downward what  Thorsten Veblen wrote 50 years earlier in regard to conspicuous consumption, the lower level power structures do their best to imitate the national level.

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Bill McCallum

Oct 25, 2021

 

Most of Bellingham appear to be happy with the Bellingham City Council.

 

I believe unopposed races show contentment.

 

2013

At-Large, Ward 1 (open), Ward 3 and Ward 5 unopposed.

2017

Ward 2 and Ward 4 unopposed.

 

2015

At-Large, Ward 1 (open), Ward 3 and Ward 5 unopposed.

 

 

2021

Ward 2 (open) and Ward 4 (open) unopposed.

 

 

Both Ward 1 and Ward 2 had an unopposed candidate in five consecutive races.

 

Ward 1: 1999, 2003, 2007 (open), 2011 and 2015 (open).

 

Ward 2: 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021 (open).

 

In three of the races the incumbent was not running for reelection so it was an open race.

 

 

 

 

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Bill McCallum

Oct 25, 2021

 


 

 

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Gene Knutson

Oct 26, 2021

Bill, Thanks for the history.  

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Bill McCallum

Oct 26, 2021

My comments are both incorrect and a mess. Everytime I tried to correct them they only got worse. I don’t know who to contact to delete them.

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One Last Chance for Permanent Protection for the City’s Great Blue Herons?

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Oct 21, 2021

 After twenty years of fits and starts, there is a time-sensitive opportunity for the city of Bellingham ...

8 comments, most recent 4 hours ago

Fledgling Great Blue Herons Need Our Help

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Jul 02, 2020

With this year’s crop about to fly the coop, it’s time to contact Mayor Fleetwood to seal the deal and create a permanent, protected wildlife reserve — the first of its kind in Bellingham.

1 comment, most recent 1 year ago

Update on Protection for the Post Point Great Blue Heron Colony

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Mar 13, 2020

Jamie K writes a brief article for us on the herons. Amongst all our human travails, we need to still protect our natural environment.

1 comment, most recent 1 year ago

We Have Failed to Adequately Protect Bellingham’s Great Blue Herons

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Jan 02, 2020

A superb update of where we are as a community on protecting Bellingham’s only Great Blue Heron colony.

What’s Going on with the Herons, Council?

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Aug 31, 2019

Jamie Donaldson urges us to contact the Bellingham City Council again as it appears there is foot dragging on acquiring the buffer woods by the heron colony nests.

1 comment, most recent 2 years ago

Huge Victory toward Creation of the Post Point Great Blue Heron Reserve

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Jul 27, 2019

In meeting with Jamie K, Mayor Kelli commits to the city purchasing the land for the heron reserve.

3 comments, most recent 2 years ago

We Must Finish the Job and Create a Great Blue Heron Reserve at Post Point

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Jul 26, 2019

City planning - and the developer - abandoned their defense of the illegal permit to build in the critical area by the heron colony.

1 comment, most recent 2 years ago

Good News for the Post Point Herons… For Now

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Jul 16, 2019

The developer and city have surrendered in their effort to allow building new homes in the Critical Area that protects the Great Blue Heron colony on Bellingham’s waterfront.

2 comments, most recent 2 years ago

All Hands on Deck to Help Protect the Great Blue Herons

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn May 21, 2019

Updated May 21. How each of us can help protect the Great Blue Herons nesting trees from city proposed approval of development in the buffer trees.

4 comments, most recent 2 years ago

Herons Continued: A Response to a Reader’s Comments

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn May 18, 2019

Jamie K clarifies several issues that Gabe Rogel posted about the protective woods buffer to the heron colony.

Bellingham Heron Colony Threatened by Development - Again

By Jamie K. DonaldsonOn Apr 04, 2019

Bellingham’s Only Great Blue Heron colony Faces Human Threats - Again. Who Wants to Help?

6 comments, most recent 2 years ago