Saturday, January 30, 2010

Running a bulldozer through a wetland for what?!

We received an e-mail the other day from a Little Swamp Creek watershed neighbor alerting us to the fact that the city of Kenmore, evidently, had been running a bulldozer into the Native Growth Protection Area that backs up to his cul-de-sac. I know how disturbing it is to hear heavy equipment working in an area that is supposed to be protected and undisturbed. We had that happen behind us about 10 years ago.

In order to get the equipment back into this wetland south of 195th, the powers-that-be had to cut down a decent-sized tree -

And cut the lower branches off of a cedar -

This is looking back up to the area of damage pictured above, and the street.

This shot was taken from basically the same spot as the previous photo. I just turned around and headed further south into the wetland area.

This is a little further down that muddy track. You can start to see a new mud puddle formed where the equipment was working.

Mud wallow where they scraped the surface leaves, etc. out of the way for some reason.

A better shot of the dozer scrapes.

And apparently all this was done to get to THIS little culvert that is the drainage from a storm water retention pond right nearby -

...the retention pond being a mere 20 or 30 feet away from this pipe end. If this is truly the only reason that they ran a bulldozer all the way back here, then I am flabbergasted at how ridiculous that was. A bit of overkill. I could have carried a garden shovel and/or a rake back there and cleared it out in a much gentler and appropriately scaled way! Actually, what really needed to be cleared out isn't obvious - the only apparent "work" is the dirt and leaves scraped around.

So it really makes you think. First of all, if we are going to have storm water retention ponds which require maintenance, lets make whatever needs to be maintained easily accessible without ruining part of the wetland that we are trying to protect. Secondly, if the city or county have to run heavy equipment into the wetland and/or buffer that is part of a neighborhood, how about passing out fliers ahead of time or figuring out some other way to let the neighbors know what is going to happen!

By the way, the remediation for disturbing this area was a sprinkling of grass seed.

There is one good thing that came as a result of this craziness. We made a new great connection with someone concerned about our watershed. We look forward to working together with him in the future. There is an amazing wetland buffer on his street in serious need of an invasive weed removal party. Volunteers?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Erosion Control Rules Should Actually Be Enforced

We've had a lot of rain overnight and all morning and as you can see, the stream is running fairly high.

All of this rain makes it painfully obvious that the construction project down the street still doesn't have adequate erosion control, and muddy runoff is going into the nearby street drains that empty into the wetland across the street. There are regulations in place that should be enforced that would easily keep this from happening. According to the city's own information, a minimum of 2-inches of mulch should be used, not the ridiculously thin scattering that was applied at this location. Also maybe silt fencing. Whatever is needed to keep the soil on site. Once again, here is a link to a pdf version of the City of Kenmore's Erosion Control Requirements.

The houses being built here must have to pass periodic inspections, so the question is why the building inspector doesn't enforce the runoff regulations.

Here's my visual tour for you...

The sad attempt at erosion control.

These decorative bricks are not stopping the muddy runoff....

...especially when it is trying to hold back a little stream running off the slope.

Muddy runoff flowing across the sidewalk further west.

A lot more straw and a silt fence along the edge of the sidewalk seems like it would be a good plan to me.

Muddy runoff down the internal road.

Muddy gutters heading east on 192nd from the cul de sac.

Muddy water heading west from the cul de sac.

This is a big drain that directs water under the street and into Wetland #3, which stretches from 192nd to nearly Bothell Way and includes Swamp and Little Swamp Creeks.

The muddy puddle next to that large storm drain. Love the litter, too.