April 1, 2002
Public needs to be kept informed
Copy of letter sent to the Regulatory Branch of Army Corps of Engineers (A.C.E.)
The acceptance and expenditure of funds contributed by non-federal public entities sounds fine as described in the notice as being limited to expending the processing of permits required from the A.C.E.
However, after reading the Lake Washington/Sammamish Watershed (WRIA 8) Near Term Action Agenda for Salmon Habitat Conservation and attending the public meeting on March 21 at the Redmond Library and noting the attendance of Linda Smith of A.C.E. Planning Department, I am very concerned that the funds' expenditure might be stretched to include A.C.E. fish habitat restoration permits promoted by the A.C.E. I would be strongly and emphatically against that.
On pages 77 & 71 of the agenda, under Sammamish River Action Alternatives and Potential Projects, there are "opportunities to reconnect existing wetlands and old oxbows or side channels. . ." (which will be very expensive), plus "work with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revise maintenance practices on Sammamish River banks and levees to improve and restore salmon habitat functions . . . Evaluate requesting deauthorization of Sammamish River flood control project, so restoration can occur without meeting Corps levee requirements."
There should be absolutely no receipt or expenditure of contributed funds involving any projects which the A.C.E. has been involved in any way, including attending meetings at which permit-needing projects are discussed.
If the public realized that the very effective flood control work of the A.C.E. could be "deauthorized" in order to undertake very expensive back-to-naturing for fish populations that have successfully transited the Sammamish River both before and after the A.C.E. channelization - including recent record fish returns - the public would be upset.
Not only should no non-federal public entities' funding be involved in processing of permits for habitat projects that have involved the A.C.E., but also the A.C.E. should send publicity news releases to all local papers, including the local weeklies, describing all local habitat restoration projects involving the A.C.E., and projected amount of public funding to be involved.
Maxine Keesling, Woodinville