Dear San Juan County and OPAL: Jeannie Beck and Lisa Byers
I am writing this to urge you all to minimize the wetland “enhancement” plan and leave as much vegetation intact as possible, and to not use glyphosate on anything in the Swale behind Lavender Hollow Apartments.
We were told that cutting Alder Trees around the perimeter of the swale behind the Apartments would dehumidify this area saving these buildings from further mold problems. But, we have come to find out from the mold expert who inspected the buildings under renovation, that all mold problems in the walls of these Apartments was due to interior generated moisture. This moisture from bathroom windows being the main culprit causing the rot in the bathroom walls of these units. We ask that you re-consider the necessity of cutting these wetland trees!
As of tonight on 7/24/12, the wetland trees to be removed have been marked with green tape. We have noticed that there are many trees marked that pose no threat to buildings. Cutting the limbs off the trees that are growing into buildings is what needs to be done. We who Live here want you to remove as few trees as possible. We love our trees! There is no fire danger from leaving them, for the swale has standing water soaking the ground for nine months out of the year, and even now, this year, in late July the ground is still soaked.
Also, I would like to see the Hawthorne trees left standing. None of the Hawthorne trees are a threat to buildings. They make up much of the understory of this swale and while being a non-native species to North America, hawthorn trees still serve an important function in this Ecosystem. They have been growing on the Island for over 100 years and their berries have become an important food source for many animals and birds who eat them almost year-round. It is a major fallacy to consider them a non-beneficial specie! Many of the Hawthorn trees in our local swale are over 40 years of age. They are Not encroaching on anything, they do not grow fast, they do not spread fast. They are helping this wetland. This non-native species eradication crusade is erroneous and needs to stop. What reason can you give for them being cut down?
Cut the Alder limbs which are encroaching into the buildings and any trees in danger of falling on the buildings. If you need to remove the blackberry vines from the edges of the swale, then do so. That about covers a realistic cleanup job back there, behind Lavender Hollow Apts. No one wants to see our trees cut down unnecessarily! Especially if the stumps are to be doused with this glyphosate poison and covered with back plastic. Kids and toddlers play back there. Pets play back there! These poisoned stumps will be 15-20 feet from these kids’ back door steps. Think about it. I might as well also point out that Alder trees typically have to reach at least 40 years of age before they begin to decay from the inside and become a falling hazard. Most of these alder trees are 15 to 25 years old. What reason do you give for cutting down these young trees that are in no danger of falling onto our buildings, yet are important to the health of this swale? In a dry area there is a fire danger if trees are too close, but this is a wetland! There is almost never a fire danger here.
Alder trees, like all trees, uptake and process water runoff that moves through Eastsound Basin. We already have problems treating all the water runoff that moves through Eastsound Basin into Fishing Bay. The containment ponds at the Mount Property directly behind the Eastsound Band Stand is a perfect example of the delusions of ecology that this company that is being hired to remove our trees is under. Everyone who sees that project thinks it ugly and a disgrace to the Island. All that to contain water runnoff, and every tree removed from here will compound the water runoff problem downstream! It is totally environmentally irresponsible to remove the young and maturing alder trees from our swale that are not an immediate threat to the buildings.
Do you understand the consequences of using Glyphosate, especially in a wetland? Are we all aware of what the environmental impacts of “high concentrations” of Glyphosate are? I have included three links about these important impacts at the end of this letter.
Here are some important excerpts from these articles:
“The exposure of children to glyphosate should be avoided as recent animal studies have shown that commercial formulation of glyphosate is a potent endocrine (hormone) disruptor, causing disturbances in reproductive development when the exposure was during the puberty period. PMID: 20012598.”
“Glyphosate is also poisonous to humans and animals in an immediate sense. When people swallow glyphosate, breathe it, bathe in or drink contaminated water, or get glyphosate on their skin, they can experience a wide range of reactions, including those that can complicate existing conditions:
• Burning of eyes or skin
• Blurred vision
• Intestinal pain and vomiting
• Skin or eye lesions
• Difficulty breathing
• Heart palpitations
• Elevated blood pressure
• Excess fluid in the lungs
• Clouded consciousness
• Destruction of red blood cells
• Swelling and blistering of the genitals
• Swollen eyes or face
• Blisters or rash
• Burning in chest and throat”
These are credible articles. Check them out.
Please educate yourselves about this product before you use it! This product may be legal, but it Certainly is not safe. It may end up poisoning we humans, plants, and animal species who live in and and around Eastsound Swale. It also has the potential to travel all the way down into Fishing Bay where it may kill sea life there. If you look at the links provided you will see that this action would be totally irresponsible. Don’t do it! Let the alders and other trees re-sprout. What harm does that do?
In the SEPA report OPAL submitted, it stated that no harmful chemicals will be released into the swale by the “renovation.” Well, what about the Glyphosate?
The argument that these trees need to come down now, because in 20 years they will be big enough to encroach or potentially fall on buildings is also fallacious. For a wetland to be healthy it needs established trees! Not recently planted ones. Please wait the 20 years. After looking at which trees were marked for being cut down during my investigation yesterday evening – 7/24/2012, I have to say that many of the Hawthorn trees marked for removal are no where near these buildings, if they fell over they wouldn’t touch them. Come take a look!
This plan is called a wetland enhancement plan. I would call it a wetland destruction plan. This wetland company who created the Mount Property “enhancement” destruction does not have the integrity to know how to successfully work with nature to create a more harmonious system. Having a degree in wetland ecology obviously does not give a person the competence necessary to be running a company responsible for altering wetlands!
Aside from that, The reason I submit this letter is to plead with you to halt the plans for degrading the Natural World where I live! Minimize this plan, do the right thing, the responsible thing! Do only what is wholly Beneficial for the Lavender Hollow Apartment complex and the people who live here. Don’t be so quick to cut down our trees! You have a responsibility to all the residents here to not destroy our Back Yards! We do not want to have to look at a ravaged and broken wetland everyday! We human beings are not so separate from the natural world as we would like to think. When we bring imbalance and poison onto our land, we will end up sharing our burden of that imbalance and that poison.
People may make their living drawing up these “enhancement” plans, however irresponsibly, and now that they have been paid from grants ultimately coming from the People, I now suggest that you agree to halt and minimize this project, so we residents do not have a falling out with you OPAL, our new owners. Have some respect for what the people who live here hold dear!! This place would be a much less desirable place to live if you decide to not alter your existing plans. Seriously reconsider what you’re doing and please leave the unobtrusive alder and hawthorn trees alone, and certainly don’t use this Glyphosate on anything! It would be sitting literally 15-20 feet from the Lavender Hollow kid’s back doorsteps.
When compared to other people, places of destruction, you may say, “It’s not that much, what are they complaining about?” You need to look at the little picture here and realize that this is our back yard, we live here, we care about these trees!
I encourage you, Opal, to restrain this project to only beneficial aspects of the original plan. When One is Harmed, All are Harmed. When One is Helped, All are Helped. This is an inescapable Moral Truth of the Universe that rides above Human Laws. Do No Harm is a real Living Law, sanctioned by the Creator or “Nature’s God” as the Founding Fathers called It.
I strongly urge you to leave the harmony of our natural world alone. We Live here, Care, and Know about how these actions will effect the harmony of where we live here at Lavender Hollow. Cast out the invasive species intolerance and look at the reality of this place! Realize that there is a purpose to all beings in natural world and Nature’s plan is infinitely more complex, balanced, and sustainable than our own. Do not be so quick to run roughshod over the natural harmony of our space. In the end, you will be happy you didn’t.
Please do whatever you can; We will do whatever we can, and together we will succeed and live in harmony with All.
Please read these many reasons not to use glyphosate: