Dear Council and Shireene Hale;
Thank you for the final chance to comment on Wetlands and Fish and Wildlife CAO chapters, and for your hard work on these. After some time of not closely following the Wetland CAO Draft Ordinance changes, I am shocked and sad at how much this Chapter, and the whole CAO, have deteriorated, concerning environmental protections.
There are countless reasons to abandon site-specific tailored buffering. If you determine things site by site, simply so that everyone can develop his parcel, there is no way to assess the cumulative negative impact on what is downstream. The County is not going to be able to monitor or enforce this.
Particularly distressing are these areas:
■ Downgrading high-category wetlands to low category, which shows how little understanding County Staff has about wetlands.
■ Narrowing wetland buffers more each time this draft is reviewed, due to pressure from property-rights people and their litigators.
■ Making every parcel available for some kind of development.
■ Eliminating data from old maps for consideration, thus effectively “destroying the evidence” that would show wetland degradation.
■ Repeatedly ignoring and over-riding Dr. Adamus’s BAS and recommendations: obviously under duress.
■ Throwing out Do No Harm as First and Foremost guideline, and replacing it with ideas like “mitigation,” non-compensatory wetland “enhancement,” and “no net loss.” These words are shell-game names for destruction of wetlands. Not considering watersheds, rather only stand-alone parcels.
Since so many wetlands are contiguous with Fish and Wildlife areas and Tidal wetlands, you really can’t separate out their inter-connectedness. Yet these documents chop up the veins and arteries of the patient – Earth and her Waters – and we wonder why she is dying. I am sure that either way this goes, there will be litigation. How sad. What a waste.
I am sorrowful and feel despair at our lack of understanding and compassion for the very earth which sustains our privileged lives here.