Sunday, August 15, 2010

Puget Sound Energy tries to save the wildlife and wetlands during easement widening.

UPDATED:  Puget Sound Energy's power easement is being widened by 100 feet to make room for a new transmission line.   
As you can see from the long brown strip going up the hill from Bear Creek near Avondale, hundreds of trees were removed to make way for a new power line.  Along some sections, you'll see parts of the trees cut off.   As ugly as it looks, these trees were purposely cut this way to provide habitat for the remaining wildlife and to try to "save:" the wetlands.  Look at the woodpecker eating on the snag.  This snag was nearby in the cooler forest where there is shelter from the sun and protection and food from the forest.
According to Ron Ainslie of King County and Thara Johnson of the City of Redmond, there are seven wetlands in the 3 mile easement project; 36 acres in all.  The trees in these wetlands were manually cut into "snags" to keep heavy equipment off the fragile vegetation.  Two wetlands are high priority, Class 2 wetlands with permanent pools.  Even with these snags the wetlands will dry from the lack of shade and poor water retention.  The city project planner said the forested wetlands will change to drier "scrub-scrub" wetlands providing habitat for different species.
A PSE worker said their biggest concern is Summer and Fall rain storms.  With vegetation and trees removed, the dry, silty soil can easily flood into Bear Creek unless measures are taken.   Silt fences need to go up - black, permeable cloth and burlap rolls.  Have you been out there, yet?   My wife and I saw a Bald Eagle, this Hairy Woodpecker, and a hummingbird when I took these pictures. 

By Bob Yoder
Photos By Yoder

2 comments:

Jactive said...

Bob,

It is gratifying to learn that PSE has gone out of its way to help preserve the wetlands habitat along the route of the new powerline easement.

However, as your article points out, the result will still be the destruction of some of the wetlands.

Do you know of any plans on the part of PSE (or the City of Redmond) to put up the silt fences you mentioned? This sounds very important to me.

Finally, that's a nice photo of the woodpecker!

LindseyatPSE said...

Jactive, this is Lindsey at PSE. To answer your question, silt fencing will be installed along Bear Creek's water edge to prevent any loose sediment from entering the watercourse. The silt fencing is part of an extensive storm water mitigation plan. We will be monitoring the site until the area becomes stabilized again, and will add additional erosion control solutions if site conditions require it.

Additionally, no wetlands will be destroyed as a part of this project. We won't have any structures in the wetlands, and no wetlands will be filled. However, we will be changing the character of the wetlands, which is why we're mitigating for them. In this case, formerly forested wetlands will now become shrub/scrub wetlands.

Thank you for your interest in our project.

 
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