Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Broadmoor begins dredging

With all required permits in place, Broadmoor’s contractor began pulling the sludge from Union Bay yesterday around the intake pipe for the golf course’s watering system. As we’ve reported previously, Broadmoor wants green grass in the summer, and that apparently requires more water than the intake pipe could accommodate. Deepening the channel in the area surrounding the intake pipe will supposedly solve the problem for the immediate future.

Not everyone is happy about the situation, however. Canterbury resident Gene Brandzel led the effort to keep the City from approving Broadmoor’s permit request as originally submitted. His concern, and that of other wildlife enthusiasts, was that a nearby beaver lodge would be disrupted during the dredging and the beavers might be negatively impacted, perhaps even abandoning their home. In the end, the City decided that the Madison Park beavers were not in jeopardy.

Seattle’s Department of Planning & Development Director, Diane Sugimura, sent Brandzel an email today in which she stated “the beaver are not an endangered species, and their habitat is not protected.” She commented that based on discussions with the State’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, she believes the beavers will probably not leave the area, as they are used to an urban environment with a lot of noise and activity. As evidence she cited the lodge’s proximity to SR-520. In the end, she said, she was sorry that her decision to grant the permit was not what Brandzel wanted, but “I do feel that our decision meets our regulatory authority.”

This is not quite a “Beavers be Damned” story, however, since the opposition by Brandzel and others to Broadmoor’s original plans did result, as Sugimura noted in her email, in a significantly reduced area and depth of dredging. Nevertheless, as can be seen in the photo below, the boom area is pretty close to the beaver damn, which is visible directly in front the dock at the 37th Avenue E. road end.

Brandzel, meanwhile, is unhappy not only with the outcome but with the process as well. “These are not ordinary beavers” he wrote in response to Sigimura, “and treating them as if they are is closing one’s eyes to the uniqueness of having these creatures as part of an urban community.” Brandzel is calling for volunteers to monitor the dredging activity to be sure that it complies with the permit. If you’re interested in helping, you can contact him at genebb@gmail.com or (206) 940-4489.

Dredging is expected to continue for two to three weeks.

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