Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beavers beware! Broadmoor to dredge

Though they’ve been given a couple-week reprieve so they can finish out their breeding season, the Madison Park beavers may soon be in for a rude awakening. Broadmoor’s plans to dredge around the golf club’s water intake pipe (shown above) have been approved by the City with the only restriction being that the project may not begin before April Fool’s Day. As reported previously on this blog, Broadmoor has a longstanding right to take water from Union Bay. The golf course utilizes pumped water from this source to help keep the grass green during the summer. The intake pipe for the irrigation system is located just off the pier at the 37th Avenue E. road end, within 40 feet or so of a beaver lodge which appears to be inhabited. As many neighbors have reported, beavers are very active in the vicinity.

To be fair, Broadmoor’s dredging plans have been scaled back significantly from what was originally proposed. The golf course had asked to be allowed to do a deep dredge within a twenty-foot radius around the intake site. After public complaints about the potential disruption to the natural habitat, Broadmoor agreed to limit the project's scope. Under the revised plan dredging will occur only in the area up to 17 feet to the west of the intake, up to five feet to the south, and up to six feet to the east. The depth of the dredging will be limited to six feet. There will be no dredging to the north of the intake so as to minimize the impact on the beaver population.

As noted in the City’s “analysis and decision” concerning Broadmoor’s dredging proposal, beavers are a protected wildlife species under Washington State law. However, “restrictions on development activity within the vicinity of a beaver lodge are not regulated,” according to the Seattle Department of Planning & Development’s analysis. Under terms of the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA), the City issued a “Determination of Non-Significance,” thereby allowing work to go ahead. Broadmoor’s contactor must still obtain several other permits, including one from the State's Department of Fish & Wildlife, before dredging can commence. I was unable to get a return call today from the contractor to confirm whether all of these permits are now in place.

Residents of the area, including the beavers and herons, can expect to endure two to three weeks of construction activity once the project gets underway. A barge-based crane will utilize a clam-shell dredge to collect dredge spoils from around the intake site. The spoils will then be dumped onto a shuttle barge which will convey the residue to a storage barge located in the Lake, about a third of a mile to the east. The dredge spoils will ultimately be trucked to a new home somewhere in Maltby, Washington.

Gene Brandzel, one of the neighborhood activists who oppose Broadmoor’s dredging plans, is unhappy with the City’s decision. “After declaring the beaver a protected animal under Washington State law, today's decision has no scientific information that confirms that the revised dredging plan protects the beaver,” Brandzel told me. He notes that while the City said it would consult with “experts” concerning the potential impact on the beavers, there is no indication in the approval who was contacted and what those experts may have said. He questions whether the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife has decided the plan protects the beavers. Unless that is the case, he said, “What alternative is left other than to appeal the City’s ruling? Someone has to step up for the beavers.”

1 comment:

  1. Without Broadmoor you wouldn't have a variety of wildlife such as bald eagles, hawks, coyotes, and other majestic animals such as beavers.
    You'd simply have concrete and brick -- inhabited by foolish people who think that everyone ELSE is the problem.

    The beavers won't mind a little dredging. Here are some questions: How do you think 520 got there? How do you think all your waterfront houses got there? How do you think the whole downtown area got there? Let me guess, you don't care about those things because they are the past, and they help you.

    Dredging and construction literally built this whole country, and we all benefit from what was done.

    The golf course is a better steward of the environment than you'd ever know.

    I worked there. I saw the wildlife daily. Show me a neighborhood full of tree hugging bunny lovers that can boast the same.


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