[Tweeters] Construction at Hawks Prairie ponds (and an off-topic but peripherally-related item)

johntubbs at comcast.net johntubbs at comcast.net
Fri Jan 12 00:06:19 PST 2018

Hi folks,

I had posted here about the construction when it started a few months ago, but the sheer scope of it is a bit mind-boggling. When we moved to the South Sound a couple years ago, I spent quite a bit of time birding Hawks Prairie Ponds (HPP) due to its convenience to where we live, and the nice mix of habitat. It was always clear the north meadow was destined for development, but as Kelly noted, one expects in this day and age that some consideration to environmental areas like HPP will be included. That certainly hasn't been the case here, and the newly developing area really is beginning to look like virtually the whole thing will be paved over. Multiple roads have been cut through what used to be nice chunks of primarily coniferous woods from both Hogum Bay Road and Marvin Road.

Along the lines of related questionable city planning decisions, which I deal with every day living here, is the use of roundabouts everywhere in this area. Roundabouts are fine in general...except in the case of the Hawks Prairie area, the city has zoned it for distribution centers (at least they are not heavily people intensive relative to other options). Distribution centers (DC's) mean large quantities of semis, and major DC's like the ones already in the area mean the longest legal 53 foot trailers on large long haul tractors. The comical but frustrating result of using roundabouts in this situation is that semis simply cannot negotiate the roundabouts without: a.) slowing down to a crawl; b.) turning on hazard light blinkers; c.) taking up both lanes of the roundabout (IF two are available); and d.) even using both lanes, running some of their wheels up on the brickwork or curbs on either the inside or outside of the roundabouts (and the problem is magnified for those roundabouts that have only one lane - like one on Marvin very near the Target DC). Of course this will mean higher maintenance costs down the road, and wonderful delays when the semi-caused damage is eventually repaired. Meanwhile, any cars stuck behind the semi driver, who has no other option but to do the above, begin to cue up and create a mini traffic jam that takes some time to unravel. The first cars through after the semi then proceed to try to (somewhat dangerously) race past the semi (where there are two lanes) to try to avoid a repeat occurrence at the next roundabout, which usually isn't too far up the road. The area has grown so much with residential housing as well, and that shows no sign of abating, that when the 'semi-versus-roundabout' entertainment happens at rush hour, some directions into the roundabout back up considerably while the car queue from one of the other directions unwinds, defeating the whole concept of a roundabout for a period of time.

OK, rant over. At least the Redhead on the NW pond at HPP wasn't discouraged by the construction next door.

John Tubbs
Lacey, WA

----- Original Message -----

From: "Kelly McAllister" <mcallisters4 at comcast.net>
To: festuca at comcast.net, "tweeters" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2018 10:14:51 PM
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] Construction at Hawks Prairie ponds

I was there last Sunday and it was deeply disturbing to see that there was no consideration for the public trail and everything was stripped to bare mud right up to the edge of the trail, not a shrub nor a tree was left to provide a visual buffer between a widely used natural area and an asphalt and concrete expanse. I presume we can thank the City of Lacey for being so respectful of a private property owner’s right to do anything they please, no matter the alternatives that might provide a greater societal good at virtually no meaningful cost to the private landowner.

Kelly McAllister


From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of festuca at comcast.net
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2018 7:29 PM
To: Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Tweeters] Construction at Hawks Prairie ponds

Hi folks,

Day before yesterday, I went out to the Hawks Prairie settling ponds off of Marvin Road/Hogum Bay Road in Lacey (just west of the Nisqually NWR) to "twitch" the drake Redhead and vocalizing Black Phoebe. Yes - I was successful, thank you:


I thought birders ought to be aware that the north end of the Ponds are closed to public access, because of construction in the property north of the LOTT facility. The 'open' fields south and west of the old cheese plant (now Nutriom, who make powdered and dehydrated egg product) are turning into more of the Industrial complex, including the Target and Trader Joe's warehouses, with their attendant acres of asphalt and impermeable roofs. So, the Scot's Broom and open fields have given way to "progress" and "development". There was no one around that I could talk to, so do not know how long the road/trail around the north end of the ponds will be closed to public use.

Just an FYI,

Jon. Anderson


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