Northwest NEWS

March 19, 2001


Water quality, quantity determines how we live

This letter is being written in response to the letter titled "Landowners and developers are not the problem." The writer clearly is not looking at the big picture when he postulates his theories regarding the salmon issue.
   The issues that face the salmon at sea have nothing to do with the issues that face them in upland areas. Since their journey encompasses a two thousand mile area it's easy to point the finger somewhere else.
   But the truth of the matter is that the salmon issue is only an indicator of how we are negatively impacting the water systems of Western Washington.
   How are we doing in our area? Ask any farmer who has lived in the Snoqualmie Valley for longer than three years and they will tell you of the sedimentation in the tributaries and rivers as well as the flooding and severe erosion troubles that have come with upland development.
   These problems consequently impact salmon runs. What people have failed to recognize is that the salmon are indicators of the water quality and water quantity in our region. If they are impacted, so are we.
   When upland development occurs with no attempt to re-vegetate, it means that we are not recharging the underground aquifers that supply us with water in the summer months. It also means that salmon can't get up the rivers because of low water flows. When sedimentation from development fills in our creeks and streams, it also means that we have flooding and erosion problems that didn't exist in the past.
   What do you think will happen to the people that have made their living from farming in the Snoqualmie Valley when all of the water from the Novelty Hill development is tight-lined into the Snoqualmie River?
   Do those people count? Oh, by the way, that will also impact salmon runs. We all live downstream. The more we pave over our land and create impervious surfaces, the less water is retained and stored in underground aquifers. What do you think happens to a farmer who relies on the river to water his cattle when a careless landowner lets two tons of manure slide into Ames Creek, not to mention the people and yes the salmon?
   Fecal bacteria is the number one pollutant in our water systems today in the Snoqualmie Valley.
   Do you want to leave that legacy for your children to clean up? Do you want to figure out a way to clean up that water so that it is drinkable?
   Before you start assuming that we can as a society go on without a care or regard for how our water system functions, I suggest that you attempt to educate yourself about the ecology of our area because, believe it or not, we are dependant on it for our very existence. The food you eat, the water you drink, many of the tasks you perform in a day, all depend on water quality and quantity.
   Kait Teachout, Duvall