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PRESERVATION OF CRITICAL HABITATS
County Will Reconsider Shoreline Rules: The County Council decided to reconsider the Shoreline Master Program it approved in August in order to determine if modifications regarding existing buildings are appropriate. Revisit Shoreline Rules (Herald 10-22-08)
City Exempts Itself from Critical Areas Ordinance: The City Council unanimously voted (Bjornson absent) to exempt itself from having to comply with the Critical Areas Ordinance. City Exempts Self (Herald 4-15-08)
RD promotes and supports the preservation of critical habitats in the city and county as identified by objective scientific evaluations of priority lands for preservation.
Twenty-eight habitats of local significance have been identified by Ann Eissinger in the city of Bellingham, and there are others that need to be identified in our county and bio-region. Not surprisingly, Chuckanut Ridge is one of these areas. The City Council has adopted a Critical Areas Ordinance which does not adequately protect these areas from being further degraded or destroyed by new development. Protecting wildlife habitat and preserving our natural environment are important values held by the community at large. Environmental impact studies (EIS) must be required for all 28 habitats and any others identified subsequently. We must work hard to ensure that the Critical Areas Ordinance is strengthened to protect all these critical areas before development plans are made and our forests, streams, and wetlands are logged, bulldozed, paved over, and gone forever.
Chuckanut Ridge Wetlands Are Critically Important: These wetlands are important for flood and storm control, wildlife habitat, the protection of subsurface water resources, recreation, and for additional reasons. Critical Nature of Wetlands
Scientific Community Warns About Harm to the Puget Sound Basin Because of Development: Prominent members of Washington State's scientific community warns about the harm urban development the clearing of forests are causing to the Puget Sound and to the environment. They state that "[c]ontrary to popular dogma, there is no threshold of development below which there will be no biological degradation." They claim that the "End-of-Pipe" management of stormwater does not work. Warning
Tree Preservation Is Critical for Protecting the Environment: The tree population is diminishing for a variety of reasons, but to a large extent due to growth. It is vitally important to preserve existing trees. "A big tree does 60 to 70 times the pollution removal of a small tree." Read more about the importance of trees in an article appearing in the June 21, 2007 edition of Time Magazine. Why Cities are Uprooting Trees
Bush Weakens Protection to Wetlands: The Bush administration weakened the protection afforded wetlands by requiring a "significant nexus" to be shown between the intermittent stream or wetland and a traditional waterway before the wetland is entitled to protection. Wetlands Protection Altered (Herald - June 6, 2007)
Bellingham's Critical Areas Ordinance: This ordinance was enacted in 2006 to protect, maintain and restore environmentally sensitive areas. Critical Areas Ordinance.pdf (394 KB)
Wildlife and Habitat Assessment: In 1996, Ann Eissinger was commissioned by the city to assess Bellingham's wildlife and its habitat. Wildlife and Habitat Assessment, Part VI
Bay Cleanup Depends on Insurance Coverage and Environmental Protection Standards: In this July 13-19, 2006 article in the Whatcom Independent, Sheri Ward discusses the factors that will largely determine the extent of cleanup of the old Georgia-Pacific property that will occur. Port Clean Up