Biodiversity: Why we need special focus to protect our land and ourselves / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk

need for citizen science5:20pm June 24, 2015  Wendy Harris

My comment to the county council requesting that the citizen science provisions be retained in the proposed wildlife advisory committee is attached. This committee was always intended (by me, at least) as something that would supplement that normal land use planning process.

Wildlife Management is a matter of conservation science rather than a land use issue and has been routinely overlooked as a result. For example, there is strong need for a conservation perspective within city and county park plans. One need only look at the photos I have posted recently of city parks, or review the new county reconveyance park plan, which is all bike trails and no habitat protection, to understand the problem.

The county council agreed to sponsor such a committee, but the proposal has been mired in ideology and politics and confused with the comp. plan update process. I did not attend the morning committee meeting, so I am not even sure if this has been moved forward for introduction this evening. The realtors and Tea Party members were objecting to this, as was administrative staff.

I hope that people will do two separate things:

1. Ask for a citizen science program to be added to the city and county comp. plan update and the CAO update. This will help to establish a baseline standard for biodiversity and allow for on-going field monitoring. The city and county will resist this because they lose autonomy and discretion in how they use their limited resources and land supply. Send your suggestions to the planning commissions as part of the comp. plan process and then to the separate councils.

2. Ask for a permanent wildlife management committee to be created, at the county and city level, as a matter separate from the GMA update process. The committee would focus on wildlife management, conservation science and avoidance of human/wildlife conflict with a goal of protecting biodiversity and increasing local resilience. Wildlife management requires a large picture approach, and is based on habitat connectivity, while land use planning is site specific.

This committee would examine the details of what species are found in what areas, what size buffers should be adopted (buffers are species specific), needs for habitat restoration based on location, or a specific type of habitat. And I now know that this committee is  for public education because there is a wide level of ignorance on the importance of biodiversity. Our lives depend on biodiversity for the resilience and stability it provides during unstable and dangerous times. In fact, biodiversity is of equal importance to reducing climate change, something the rest of world understands, but Americans do not.

Need For Citizen Science Provisions In County Wildlife Programs.updated.doc · version 1

Email addresses you can send your letters to:

  • jryan@whatcomcounty.us
  • PDS_Planning_Commission@co.whatcom.wa.us
  • council@co.whatcom.wa.us
  • planning@cob.org
  • planningcommission@cob.org
  • planningcommission@cob.org
  • planning@lyndenwa.org
  • mjones@cityofblaine.com
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One thought on “Biodiversity: Why we need special focus to protect our land and ourselves / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk

  1. The punch line.. after I drafted my letter to council, I learned that the county public works department was involved in a new citizen science project with the Whatcom Conservation District involving storm water run-off measurements. And the county council still refused to include the citizen science provisions in the new wildlife advisory committee proposal. Clearly, there is an underlying agenda when the administration uses citizen science, but does not support its use with regard to wildlife, where much less is known and measured.

    Liked by 1 person

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