Opinion

Hold praise until actual figures in

withhold praise Praise for County Executive Gary Locke's "lower cost" water runoff controls should be withheld until we see actual cost figures and actual performance data.
   A January 1995 figure from Surface Water Management (SWM) for the urbanized East Lake Sammamish Plateau for on-site detention was $14,553 per lot. Saving $1,000 or $2,000 on that figure is insignificant.
   We've gone through on-site ponds, grassy swales, and piping all runoff offsite to the nearest drainage ditch. The funny thing is the worst flooding occurs in the unincorporated areas regulated by SWM, or urban areas such as Issaquah that work with SWM. Perhaps we should copy Seattle and Bellevue to see how it's done in those cities.
   SWM's ultimate answer seems to be clustered, limited, or no rural area development, with forced tree/brush retention to the point where livestock pastures are disallowed. Even though some of the worst flooding has been in Issaquah where the drainage basin is still 80% is forested.
   It's outrageous that even as other agencies bewail the loss of farmland and while SWM searches for answers, SWM has locked up massive amounts of rural areas where the native vegetation can't be cleared for pastures and crops. (But citizen revolt has paid off for the Cedar River rural area where instead of regulatory lockup, landowners are being offered incentives for tree retention.)
   Since studies show that there is more groundwater recharge in pasture/crop areas than in forested areas (because the tree foliage intercepts rain and transpires it back to the atmosphere), SWM's runoff solutions should allow clearing for pastures and crops.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville