Sharp Shinned Hawk photo by Andy Schauer
A Sharp-Shinned Hawk dropped into Andy Schauer's back yard near North Creek Forest. Andy had his camera ready. This Sharp-Shinned Hawk migrates to this area for the winter. It eats other birds and it's presence is an indicator of a large number of birds on the edge of North Creek Forest. This is an uncommon sighting. Thanks Andy!
The Bothell City Council is going to vote on a Purchase and Sales Agreement to buy 35.66 acres of North Creek Forest at 6:00 PM tonight. We expect a unanimous vote as all Council Members have supported this.
The trouble is in the details. As it currently stands there is no provision in the agreement to close the sale before risking a loss of funding. This article is, in part, a public appeal to the Council to counter this risk by assuring the completed purchase happens before the State Legislature cuts funding in December. The clock is running.
The most often raised issue to purchasing this forest is erosion. Several years ago surface runoff cut into the forest hillside resulting in mud entering North Creek. Bothell designed a fix and constructed bypass conduits which will last a long time. Permanent solutions can be implemented as grants are acquired. The city apparently inherited this surface water problem when this part of the forest was annexed.
City staff prepared an agreement requiring a significant erosion study but this study could delay purchase well into the special Legislative session. Since it is already the city's responsibility to deal with this surface water erosion we ask the Council to approve the purchase now and use any study as a foundation for future erosion control designs. That would be valuable, timely and would not cost the city a penny more than a process that delayed the purchase. We have already committed to work with the city on erosion control grants.
The second part of the study, a search for toxic waste, is necessary. Staff mentioned the possibility of one or more buried oil tanks. We ask that it be expedited so any problems can be determined and dealt with in the closing document similar to a work order paid for out of an account set up for that purpose. Without access to details of the P/S Agreement we can't speculate upon the design of such a provision but the creative application of City Council talent can.
It should be noted that there has not been one single voice opposing this purchase. The word about conservation of this forest is all over Bothell and beyond. "Due diligence" is a tool to protect citizen interests. With no opposition to this purchase it would be ironic if the full exercise of due diligence ended in the failure of a popular landmark conservation purchase.
Photo by Andy Schauer
A WATERSHED MOMENT
Bothell is on the verge of conserving one of it's most valuable natural assets. A matrix of salmon streams, large wetlands and upland conifer forest park land is an exceptional gift to ecological function within urban watersheds.
A Watershed Moment refers to a moment in history where something changes that fundamentally shifts our point of view. It's a paradigm. We are watching one unfold right now.
Friends of North Creek Forest