Northwest NEWS

March 22, 1999

Editorial

An area of great beauty could be lost forever

   Hayes Mine/Duvall Rock Company has applied for a permit to mine, or create a quarry/gravel pit along the steep hillside approximately one mile north of Duvall on State Route 203.

   This application is insufficient to address the multitude of issues involved. It is essential that an environmental impact study be required. There are incorrect and inconsistent statements in this application.

   For instance, Duvall Rock Company proposes to divert the waterfall, which runs completely through the center of the proposed site, referring to it as a "seasonal drainage" and stating it is called "Dry Falls" on some maps, and McCauley Falls on others. McCauley Falls, which runs through my property and that of several of my neighbors, is fed by year-round, fish-bearing Hanstead Creek, becoming McCauley Falls at the edge of the cliff. Never has it been referred to as "Dry Falls" by those of us who live there.

   King County has designated Hanstead Creek as a salmonid creek, so our new neighbors are being required to build their homes with a 200-foot corridor to protect Hanstead Creek. It is unthinkable that King County would, at the same time, allow a quarry to divert, surround, and potentially ruin this creek.

   At the bottom of the proposed site, which is adjacent to the flood plain, is Cherry Creek, a good-sized, deep, fish-bearing stream which would become infiltrated with mud and silt, an environment in which fish cannot survive.

   Audobon has ten acres directly above the proposed site, nearly abutting it. A quarry that close would destroy it as a wild animal preserve, as well as destroying the wildlife corridor to the preserve.

   In the farmland below the site are fields used for training and fields for hunting dogs. Whistles are used for both the training and field trials. The quarry noise and distraction would make this area useless for these purposes. These fields also support birds and bird hunting. It is an extremely popular recreation area which is used all year. Across from this field is a Washington Department of Wildlife facility.

   There are hundreds of homes which will be affected by the proposed quarry. Rock quarries, by their very nature, generate a great deal of noise, dust, and pollution that continues year after year. The homes with a quarry in their front yards will not only become unlivable, but they will also become valueless.

   There are at least 30 homes on the road which is directly above the quarry and at least as many to the south side of the proposed site. Other homes are under construction or in the planning stages as soon as permits are approved. The noise will affect everyone.

   Land stability is also a major concern. Blasting and rock removal could affect the land stability. A landslide would cause homes to come sliding to the valley floor.

   The area above the proposed site is six miles from the epicenter of the 1996 5.3-magnitude Duvall earthquake which occurred beneath the gravel pit at Drunken Charley Lake. Five homes will be bordering the top of the quarry site. If there were another earthquake, for which there is a high probability, there is no way to know what effects that quarry, combined with an earthquake, may have on the stability of this steep hillside.

   The effects of a quarry on water wells is also unknown. Many homes are near the site of this proposed quarry, especially above the site and beside it to the south, and all are on wells, some of which have been drilled clear to the valley floor. The application states the quarry would have no effects on the wells, but the reality is that it probably will. Even some of the deep wells do not produce abundant water. Anything that diverts water is likely to have an adverse effect on the wells.

   Vegetation and trees, which help the ground absorb rain water, would be gone, and water cascading over the rock to the valley floor will add to the already existing winter/seasonal flooding problem, rather than recharging the water cells.

   Trucks coming from the quarry would have a detrimental impact on the traffic congestion already existing in the area. NE 124th St., south of Duvall, will be closed next year while the bridge is replaced. When that road is closed at all, it creates serious traffic problems.

   This area is a major wildlife habitat. It is the only wildlife corridor left in this area. With so much building occuring, this hillside is one of the last remaining wild places. To be found here, and seen there by we who live here, are: eagles, hawks, several kinds of owls, bear, cougar, deer, racoon, bobcat, mountain beaver, bats, squirrels, skunks, porcupines, pilated and other woodpeckers, sap suckers, stellar jays, evening grossbeaks, quail, coyotes, and other small creatures. This is a wonderful place with abundant wildlife. Its loss would be tragic.

   A beautiful area will be destroyed forever. This waterfall and hillside is one of the beauty spots of this valley. King County has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase the commercial rights to the farmland in this valley. A quarry does not belong here.

Duane and Helen Lashway, Duvall