[Tweeters] Advocate for birds BY MAY 24-in Seattle Parks Legacy Plan

Tucker, Trileigh TRI at seattleu.edu
Wed May 22 13:00:29 PDT 2013

Hello Tweets,

With my ongoing concerns about how birds are being affected in Lincoln Park by some current management practices of overworked, underfunded Seattle Parks and Rec, I went last night to a public meeting about the draft Parks Legacy Plan. I knew the public comment sessions were being held in May, but I just learned last night that the deadline for public comments for this version of the draft PLP is May 24: the day after tomorrow as I write this, and "tomorrow" by the time many of you will read it.

At the meeting, I and a couple of others advocated for explicitly including birds and other urban wildlife in management considerations, with the conviction that the best legacy we can pass on to future Seattle citizens is healthy park ecosystems with a richness of biodiversity appropriate to our PNW setting. (Obviously, there are some limitations to ecosystem health by virtue of being in an urban setting, but at least the healthiest possible.)

Thanks to the ongoing coordination efforts of the Green Seattle Partnership, much work is being done to remove invasive plant species in Seattle parks. Of course this is a good thing (especially when care is taken to avoid habitat disruption during bird nesting season), but my concern is that these efforts become seen as all that is necessary to create "healthy urban forests" (to use the language in the PLP), with insufficient attention paid to the additional management strategies needed to support healthy ecosystems for birds and other animals as well as plants. "Wildlife and biodiversity" are mentioned briefly in the beginning of the plan as key elements of a "healthy environment," but rarely after that (just once on p. 133, I think).

An additional concern was raised this morning in a private conversation with someone involved in the public-comment process. (For you long-time activists, this may be obvious, but it just really came home for me.) This person pointed out that a major Parks user is sports teams, who can quickly call together dozens to hundreds of people on their teams to attend public meetings. Thus, advocacy for birds and other relatively quiet inhabitants frequently ends up taking a back seat in the face of organized advocacy by these other park users.

So it seems critical to me for bird advocates to raise our voices during this public-comment period. If you have a few minutes to look through the draft Parks Legacy Plan, here's the critical info:

* The plan is available at http://www.seattle.gov/parks/legacy/
* Send comments by email to parkslegacy at seattle.gov
* Additional info, including survey results, overview brochure and PowerPoint, etc. are at http://www.seattle.gov/parks/legacy/

Thanks for considering this,

Trileigh Tucker
Lincoln Park, West Seattle
Natural history website: naturalpresence.wordpress.com
Flickr page: flickr.com/photos/trileigh

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