[Tweeters] Everett 'Marshland' Proposal.

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue Nov 11 10:17:09 PST 2014

With one foot on Alhzeimers Acre, and the other on a banana peel, I've been somewhat disconnected to Mudville this past year. But I read the Everett Herald to keep tabs on homebase.
On November 4, the Herald had an article on future proposals to make salmon habitat improvements to the Snohomish River floodplain area known as the "Marshlands". I brought this up a few years ago on tweeters.
"Oh crap!" I can imagine some birders thinking . "That durn gov'mint is gonna screw up another one of our birding spots!", like Spencer Island, Smith Island, Skagit, etc. Yep, they're gonna put a cork in your loop trail, or whatever. Ruin the birding etc. I think I understand.
Well, the Everett Marshland area,on the river by Lowell, a favorite hangout for me in the decades I've been in Everett, really doesn't have all that great of access now - pretty much just driving, or walking, along the River Road.
Anyhoo, the big fat salmon idea, in simplistic terms, is to breach the River Road levee, and allow the tide back into this area of the Estuary. The area is about twice the size of Spencer Island, for a comparison. A new levee would run along the railroad tracks, and several other cross dikes would provide some access to the area that doesn't exist now. Maybe. Gotta check out the details on that.
One notion that excites me, as a naturalist, is the proposal to expand "floodplain forest and swamp wetlands",the habitats "most absent from the Snohomish System". Indeed, there are only remnants (on Otter, and Ebey Islands, etc) of the ol' "tidewater spruce", "surge plain", whatever you wanna call it, swamps (a treed wetland), left in this valley , or any other estuary in the Puget Sound region. A wonderful habitat.
Hell, the whole deal will only cost 328 million dollars! Maybe.
All I know is No Habitat, No birds. (or anything else). Of course, what kind of habitat? For better or worse, Humans have the power to direct these changes. If I'm gonna be a bozo on this bus, I would prefer the vehicle to have a steering wheel, and not just gas and brake pedals. Nature is complex. At times I think that some of these big do gooder restoration (or to use what I consider to be the somewhat appalling legal term, "mitigation") projects are being implemented by folks with more degrees than on the ground experience - decisions on paper painted with a broad brush. Kinda like that deal Connie Sidles talked about with the Fill awhile back - the need to make fine habitat distinctions (like for shorebird friendly spots). Hopefully input from local naturalists will be heard.
Connie also brought up the "access" issue, which I know is a big one. To appreciate birds and nature, it does help to be able to see the creatures. A "mitigation" pond thickly planted around with dense shrubs may be good for (some) birds, but you'll never see 'em. Of course wildlife is the priority, but a common sense (?), balanced, plan of access and habitat design could be managed. I think people are getting better at that - at least some are.
Anyway, public comment by you ( the "consumer", "stakeholder", "user group", or whatever), concerning the Marshland Project is only open until November 24th. You can go to the pugetsoundnearshore.org website for more info and links to the Corp of Engineers comment link. The whole deal, if it ever happens, is probably years and years off , but comment time is limited - as usual.
Jeff Gibsonnot inMudville Wa

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