Wednesday, March 12, 2014

City of Redmond shows progress towards improving the environment

Four city planners delivered to the Redmond City Council two significant environmental progress reports at their last study session.  Environmental planner Cathy Beam gave a Climate Action Plan update on green building projects and Stream habitat planners Roger Dane and Tom Harding discussed restoration of  Redmond streams.  Read More >>

According to Harding, the city has 50 miles of streams and 200 miles of stormwater pipe that mostly drain hard surface run-off.  Of course, the streams also have a habitat function for Redmond salmon and other stream fish so the health of Redmond streams is important.  Currently, the city has 60 stream restoration mitigation sites located on 80 acres -- all maintained by AmeriCorp workers.

Currently, 70 fish migration barriers block 60% of Redmond streams.  The city's goal is to have all fish bearing Class Two streams free of barriers.  39 of the barriers are owned by the city.  Since 2010 the city reports they opened up 20 barriers.  Recently, near 124th Ave in North Redmond a private developer opened up four barriers.

Only seven miles of streams have good habitat complexity (woody debris) giving places where fish can hide.  The city has made tremendous improvements in this area by adding wood in Willows Creek and hundreds of logs in the South Bear Creek restoration project.

As of 2013 52% of regulatory stream buffers have a significant tree canopy.  The 100 year goal is to have 90% canopy.  Newly planted trees are caged to keep beavers out and take 5-10 years to grow into a significant canopy.  Investment in trees literally grows in value over time to improve habitat.

Environmental Planner Cathy Beam was positive in her Climate Action Plan update.  She announced the Master Builders Association gave Redmond their "Green Hammer Award."  Redmond has 16 Lead Certified Homes buildings now and 14 Energy Star buildings and 1200 "Built Green" certified projects.  City incentive programs initiated Built Green momentum and now builders in North Redmond have established Built Green practices as their standard of practice.  Councilmember Stilin suggested that development communities having "Built Green" certification be given signage to announce their commitment to the environment. 

Reported By Bob Yoder


Anonymous said...

Interesting comment about caging trees to protect them from beavers - aren't they part of nature as well? If some beavers dam up one of these streams, will we leave the dam in place? Are beavers valued the same as salmon?

I'm all for nature, but who gets to be the final arbiter of what is natural and what isn't?

Bob Yoder said...

Tom Harding said they don't relocate existing beavers and that when a beaver breaks though a tree cage they look at it as providing valuable wood for the stream. Harding wants to protect the Cedar and Fir from the beavers but doesn't mind if they go after Willows and Dogwood. I think they leave beaver dams untouched.