Mayor weighs in on marsh setbacks: Says 50-foot buffer ‘a real world solution’

The Edmonds Marsh (Photo by William Keppler)
The Edmonds Marsh (Photo by William Keppler)

Updated Oct. 25 with a comment from Council President Kristiana Johnson

Rebuffing the Edmonds City Council’s Sept. 27 vote, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling on Monday announced that he has sided with the Washington State Department of Ecology in supporting a narrower buffer for the Edmonds Marsh.

In a letter to Washington State Department of Ecology Director Maia D. Bellon, Earling said that the Ecology Department’s proposed 65-foot setback (50-foot buffer with a 15-foot building setback) is the best option for protecting the marsh. The city council by a 4-3 vote on Sept. 28 approved a 125-foot setback (a 110-foot buffer and a 15-foot setback).

In taking that vote, the council rejected the Ecology Department’s requested change to the council-approved 100-foot buffer in the city’s original Shoreline Master Program (SMP), stating that a 50-foot buffer and 15-foot setback is more consistent with the Edmonds Marsh Category II wetland classification.

The Shoreline Master Program is how the city is required to define, regulate and protect its shorelines, including the Edmonds Marsh. It is currently under review by the Washington State Department of Ecology in accordance with the State Growth Management Act.

In his letter, dated Oct. 21 but released to the media on Monday, Oct. 24, Earling said he agreed with Ecology’s assessment, citing concerns that the council’s alternative for a 125-foot total setback “fails to recognize existing conditions and results in a buffer only on paper.”

“It is more likely to act as a disincentive to redevelopment and enhancement opportunities and thus perpetuate the status quo,” Earling wrote.

In an announcement accompanying the letter’s release on Monday, Earling said that the Ecology’s proposed requirement for a 50-foot vegetative buffer with a 15-foot additional building setback “is much greater than existing setbacks along much of the marsh’s perimeter.” The 65-foot setback “will allow for reasonable development that will trigger much sought-after buffer and habitat enhancements around the marsh,” the announcement said.

In his letter to Bellon, Earling said that under the 65-foot setback, “any redevelopment would be required to significantly enhance the marsh environment, not only through a vegetated buffer but also through improved stormwater management. This is a real world solution to protecting and improving our valuable marsh.”

The Sept. 28 council vote for the wider buffer was supported by Council President Kristiana Johnson and Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Mike Nelson. Opposing the measure were Councilmembers Neil Tibbott, Tom Mesaros and Dave Teitzel.

Like Earling, those councilmembers opposing the wider buffer had argued that it would not ensure better protection for the marsh, because it would limit what the Port of Edmonds — which owns the property next to marsh — could accomplish by making marsh improvements through redevelopment.

Rsponding to the mayor’s decision, Councilmember Mike Nelson said that 110-foot buffers are “supported by the best available science from Ecology’s own 2016 guidelines. These protective buffers are in the best interest of our marsh, the best interest for economic development, and the best interest for the people of Edmonds and its future generations,” Nelson said.

“The real world has cut the marsh down to half its size and it is one of the few remaining estuary wetlands left in the entire Puget Sound,” Nelson added. “I believe our neighbors can successfully develop and thrive outside the marsh’s protective buffers supported by council.”

Buckshnis, a long-time supporter of the wider marsh buffer, said that Earling’s position doesn’t come as a surprise, as the mayor had already notified some councilmembers he was not willing to accept the council’s decision.

“As legislators, we must rely on governing laws, guidelines and rules to provide justification for our decisions,” Buckshnis said. “Someone has to speak on behalf of the environment and as I have said many times before, I am willing to take that responsibility.”

Fraley-Monillas intimated that the lesser buffer “was suggested by Ecology after discussions with the Port of Edmonds.”

“Unfortunately it appears the port and others that might have received greater economic value from the denigration of our environment is still in opposition to this well-crafted code,” she added.

The councilmembers who voted for the wider buffer “believe this will create the greatest environmental and economic impact for the citizens,” Fraley-Monillas said.

Council President Kristiana Johnson said she was “very disappointed” by the mayor’s letter, stating that Earling “used the power of his office to represent his personal views.”

The fact the mayor sent his letter two days after the city’s official letter, which Johnson signed on behalf of the city council, “serves to confuse and denigrate the city council’s action regarding the marsh buffers,” Johnson said.

“I am very disappointed with the Mayor and the way he chose to undermine the work of the City Council in his letter to the DOE,” Johnson continued. “His process was neither open nor transparent. He blindsided the city council. His letter was an egregious interference with the city’s legislative process, in my opinion.”

The next step is for Ecology Department Director Bellon to issue a final ruling after reviewing the city’s response, which was included in a letter that the council approved Oct. 19.

— By Teresa Wippel

  1. Who gives a darn The only problem is leaving the tide gate closed during the winter. To be a true salt water marsh the marsh needs tide action year round. No one has addressed this problem.

  2. It is unfortunate that the Mayor has missed the mark on this issue. The purpose of the 110 foot buffer is to prevent development from occurring too close to the Marsh. Buffers are supposed to protect the functions of the Marsh and the birds and other wildlife that utilize it; that’s what good science tells us. The Mayor’s proposal would allow and encourage the construction of large, tall buildings right up to the pathway around the Marsh, and that is not good for the future of the Marsh or the citizens of Edmonds who appreciate our natural environment.

    1. The Mayor did not “miss the mark”. Earling knows exactly what he is doing, as he has demonstrated that he is pro development, pro expansion, pro high-density.

      He is a realtor, and will always side with big development.

      Edmonds is going to change and not in a good way, as his administration has shown. Edmonds will become just like Ballard, and all people who voted for Earling, have themselves to blame.

      1. So if you are not pro development and pro expansion you must be pro even higher taxes, or pro diminished city services. And if you are not pro high-density you must not want the city to comply with the state’s Growth Management Act.

        1. There is no proof of higher taxes do to lack of expansion, that is an old and tired mantra.
          The greater the buffer around the marsh, the “Natural” habitat is maintained.
          Or, we can put up four story condo’s, and some grass reed plants and call it good.
          I can bet your are voting for the $ 54Billion transit joke, also.

        2. You cite the Growth Management Act?
          Cite to the citizens of Edmonds, exactly where it is stated in the “Act”, that marsh lands should be encroached upon?
          Walking the asphalt trail on a summer evening, when the asphalt is still warm from the sun, there are countless Gardner snakes of all sizes basking in the warmth of the radiating energy, before they retreat to their feeding grounds. A feeding grounds that would be covered by fill dirt and buildings in your world.
          You would destroy the young trees, home to the small birds, maybe one hundred verities. It would also effect the habitat of the Bald Eagles, (Federally Protected habitat) that are frequently in the area. But then, in your world, who cares? The little birds, can relocate, let us call these birds by their names, Bill, Carol, George and Jill, this is their home, and you want to destroy their homes, you want to kill them all, and their children. Earling implies: By God progress must prevail, Edmonds in the name of Profit for developers, to hell with the wildlife and small animals!
          No where in your cited “Act” does it state that this area must be effected, there are plenty of areas in Edmonds where developers can buy large parcels of ground and build. AHHHHH, but it is not as profitable from a rental standpoint as building on the marsh. So the root, issue, is profit to developers.
          You would rather drain the marsh, kill all the migratory birds, the local birds and reptiles, so we can have some new Condo’s! Brilliant!!
          The coyotes from Woodway more than likely go there and forage on small prey, the Bald Eagles forage on small prey in the marsh, the salmon swim thru the marsh. But then it is only an Eco-System, let’s destroy it.
          Earling, needs to be voted out of office, his administration is one that Edmonds can longer tolerate.

  3. I wonder what world mayor Earling lives in. It seems it’s a world where development is king, and all environmental decisions must bow to development – or even the prospect of development. The Dept. of Ecology’s own guidelines, adopted in June of this year, say that a 110 foot buffer, plus a 15 foot setback for buildings, is the best protection for the Edmonds Marsh. Then the Port of Edmonds appeals to the DOE – “what about all of the money we want to make by building near or on the marsh?” – and low and behold the DOE caves in. Let’s listen to what the best science says, and do everything we can to keep the 110 foot buffer and 15 foot setback. If our children and grandchildren have any hope to see a little bit of Edmonds in its pre-settlement state, we need to do this. Shame on you, mayor Earling.

  4. I have to most respectfully disagree with Mayor Earling. It is just this kind of thinking that has reduced wetlands to the state they are in. California is a case in point. A recent article in Audubon (Sea Change by Tyler Hayden – Audubon, Summer 2016) notes that the state has just about destroyed its salt and fresh-water marshes and other wetlands, including the Salton Sea, which is still a stopping off place for thousands of sea and lake birds. However this vast wetland will soon be a thing of the past unless something is done to save it. Edmonds Marsh is tiny by comparison. However, it is one of the last true salt marshes left in Puget Sound and as such has more importance than its mere size would indicate. To save it, the best science indicates that a 110 foot buffer is essential. It would, in my opinion as a biologist, be folly to degrade this area even further just for the sake of “progress.” Continuing such policies will eventually result in a sterile environment which would not be compatible with the environmentally progressive reputation of the city of Edmonds – one of the reasons that people want to live here.

  5. I am confused with the Mayor’s statement and letter in the Beacon. He is not the City Council. They made a decision. It should stop there.

    1. My guess is that you’d have no problem with the Mayor making a statement if you agreed with what he said.

      1. As for myself, I might not like a decision made by the Council, but I do believe that official policies, once set, that have been approved by a governing body should not be gainsaid by a member of that body except as a private citizen (which the Mayor certainly has a right to do). Otherwise what is the point of having a vote in the first place?

  6. At the time of settlement Edmonds had a thriving salt marsh of approximately 100 acres. It is now estimated to be 22-23 acres, less than a quarter of its original size. Most degradation is visible to the casual observer: BNSF tracks, Edmonds marina, Harbor Square, Dayton Street, Salish Crossing, SR 104, the former Unocal oil operation. What is not apparent to most is the nearly six-month annual closure of a tide gate operated by the Port of Edmonds that stops the salt water flushing of the marsh. Willow Creek, despite all of the public hoopla and vetting of plans, is not about to be daylighted any time soon. The time is now for the City Council to insist that the Port stop its practice of cutting off salt water that is critical to a city-owned shoreline. If the purpose is to protect its Harbor Square encroachment from flooding, a tide gate can be closed for a short period of time when there is a confluence of a rainstorm and a king tide. Closure at any other time is not justified and probably constitutes an illegal harm to a salt marsh.

    It is well known to science that salt marshes are nurseries for fish, crustaceans, and other insects. The health of salt marshes is indisputably linked to the health of fisheries stock. Salt marshes protect against waves and rising sea levels. Because of the ways in which the marsh has been cut off from the inland marine waters, it may no longer be able to protect Edmonds from a rising ocean or from storm surges. It does, however, have a critical role to play in enhancing the recovery of salmon and other aquatic life. It can not do that while the Port of Edmonds cavalierly continues to shut off the salt water for half of each year. The Port needs to step up and be a responsible player in the health of the marsh. If it continues on its current path, the City Council needs to direct the Port to cease and desist.

    1. Very well stated! I get pretty tired of the argument that “real world” solutions require more development, even at the cost of future disaster. I’ve run into this reasoning from people who would gain from such progress time and again. We are seeing the results of past mistakes in the current situation for the marsh.

    2. Carol, I think you have been given some misinformation. I work for the Port of Edmonds, and we do not have control of the tidal gates. That is under the control of the City of Edmonds.

      1. If you are correct, Tina, then we have been given disinformation. I continue to make my basic point that closure of the tide gate for six months of the year is incredibly harmful to the marsh and wildlife dependent upon it. If the Port is closing the tide gate, then stop it. If the City is closing the tide gate, then stop it. Officials I have talked to have been pretty cryptic in their answers about which entity is in control of the tide gate. I was told that the tide gate is under the marina and is controlled by of the Port. This would be a good opportunity for whomever is in control of the tide gate to step up, own that control, and explain to Edmonds’ citizens why it is closed half of each year.

        1. Good for you Who is in charge. I have been asking this question for years. Please open the tide gates and close them when needed. Why can’t this problem be solved. No one wants to be held responsible. City, Parks, State,

        2. Carol, I have done some additional research. The tide gate is controlled by the City of Edmonds and is closed to prevent flooding in the winter. High tides combined with heavy rain and run off from up the hill down to the water creates a big flooding problem. I don’t know why it isn’t opened and closed only when heavy rains are forecast.

    3. Thanks Carol for your support. It is obvious no one cares about Tides Gates. The only issue is set backs (economic) Where is the Major, or the supposed (tree lovers) Do you want to save the marsh?????

      1. The situation with the tide gates will be addressed when the Willow Creek daylighting project (which is currently in the design phase), for which the City is receiving State and Federal money (supporting salmon recovery) is completed. The Willow Creek daylighting project is the most important current project supporting the protection & restoration of the Edmonds Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary because it will increase the volume and rate of tidal exchange (that will increase/return the extent of brackish habitat) and also promote flood control. Only after the daylighting project is completed and several seasons have transpired for a new equilibrium between predominant brackish and freshwater habitats to be established will the type and scale of acceptable development of adjacent properties be able to be determined. This is a key reason why the widest buffers based on best available science and current law should be put it in place at this time… which is exactly what a Council majority has done. Any so called buffer “compromise” risks throwing good State & Federal money at bad, because the effects of potentially inappropriate development could negatively impact the positive outcomes expected from the Willow Creek daylighting project.

        1. Exactly! By making a so-called compromise, we would be negating restoration efforts already in at least the planning stage. The remnants of the marsh are important, among other reasons, because there are few such wetlands along Puget Sound. If Edmonds is to maintain its well-deserved reputation as an environmentally aware city we must protect and restore the marsh as much as possible.

        2. Thank you we all understand the Willow Creek daylighting project. Do you think it will ever happen. We have been talking about and studying this plan for over 20 years. What is the hold up?

        3. Yes Gary. It IS happening. The hold up was/is funding and more broad based community support. Councilmember Buckshnis has been diligently working with WRIA8 (Water Resources Inventory Area 8) to have the priority of the Edmonds Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary raised. And it is principally through WRIA8 that we are receiving State and Federal funding to support the project as part of salmon recovery efforts. Keeley O’Connell who has significant expertise regarding the Marsh and the daylighting project was also instrumental in helping to obtain current funding ( and she is currently on Staff, helping to manage the program. The project is currently in the design phase. But we will ultimately need to receive additional funding for implementation. Of course, community support and the City’s commitment to Marsh protection can impact potential funding. And recent perspectives supporting residential-centric development adjacent to the Marsh (aka the Port’s Redevelopment Master Plan), which is what’s behind Mayor Earling and Councilmembers Teitzel, Tibbot, and Mesaros advocacy for narrow buffers (challenging the Council majority), won’t help the on-going funding efforts.

        4. BNSF built a rail bridge across Willow Creek about 5 years ago. They did their part. You and I both know it will take years for all the studies and approvals. Everybody and Dept. are going to protect their position. In the mean time the gates are still closed for half the year. The ecosystem must wait for every one to drag their feet. Please lets get this job done.

  7. The job of City Council is to set policy for the city. The Mayor’s role, as executive/administrator, is to execute city policy. At this time, city policy is 110 feet of buffer. I think it would have been more appropriate and productive for mayor to ask Council to re-consider their vote than firing off his own letter. In light of Mayor’s letter, perhaps council should take up the matter again and either reaffirm city policy of 110 foot buffer or endorse Mayor’s position of half that as a buffer so State more clearly appreciates city policy.
    Actually, this is why I have always endorsed having a city manager (which Edmonds can do with an election) than existing “strong mayor” form of government. If Edmonds had a city manager there would be no confusion as to buffers. Now 110 foot buffers are at risk.

    1. Exactly my point! If the mayor wants to change a vote, bring it up in a council meeting. Undercutting a decision made by the Council in this way is un-democratic. He has a right to his opinion as a citizen and as mayor to try to get a revote and reargue the issue. However the vote came out I don’t like undercutting democratic process, which I think he has done in sending the letter to Ecology. This is, in my opinion, bad precedent and could lead to unpredictable actions in future City Council meetings.

  8. The determination which supercedes the Council’s authority is the State Department of Ecology. And if I am not mistaken that ruling will be the one which will determine the buffers.

  9. The next time I walk along the pathways beside the marsh (which I do a few times a week) and I see the wild life with big tears in their eyes, I will know why.

  10. We are ALL caught in what I call “The Vortex”!

    Regardless where you/I/WE stand on the love/hate continuum of The Global Economy – we are ALL DEPENDENT on it!

    and The Global Economy is healthiest, grows jobs, livelihoods and fortunes in direct proportion to life destroyed!

    re: Edmonds and The Marsh specifically

    EVERYTHING we love about the places – are DEPENDENT on ALWAYS MORE $$$

    re: The Global Economy

    the word “enough” is non-existent

    1. More is only needed due to a City that thinks of itself as a private corporation, their goal is to make as much profit as possible. So, they can spend more, it is a cycle every city follows.
      The reality is, it is a Municipal Corporation, the key word is Municipal, it is owned by the Citizens of the City. City Hall is just a figure head, of the citizenry, period.

      Administrators who think they can do what they want, when they want, need to be thrown out of office.

  11. I live on a lake in Edmonds and we are required a 100′ buffer from the water for any building; it is interesting that the city’s buffer is so different. Does this mean we can all follow their lead in having the laws changed?

  12. Appears the Department of Ecology is pressuring the city to reduce protections of the marsh land — rather than supporting increased buffers and protection. Sad that an agency that is theoretically charged with environmental protection fails frequently to take seriously their mandate.

    1. Maradel, the current protections of the marsh lands are 25 feet. 4 of the 7 City Council People want 125 feet. The Department of Ecology and the other 3 of the 7 want 65 feet.

      1. The Marsh has (and has had for some time) a 75 foot buffer under the City’s Critical Area Ordinance – see Chapter 23.90 of the Edmonds Community Development Code, except for the south edge of the Marsh where Willow Creek flows which has a 100 foot buffer (ECDC 23.90.040(D)(1)(b)). The 75 foot buffer (plus 15 foot set-back) currently applies to the edge of the Marsh along Harbor Square regardless of whether the Port of Edmonds wants to acknowledge it (the law) or not. However, once the updated Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is approved, the buffer width for the Marsh will be that adopted in the SMP and the CAO will no longer apply. Further, the buffer width under the SMP will be measured from the extent of salt tolerant plants, not the mean high (freshwater) line as set in the CAO. Thus, the Mayor’s proposed 50 foot buffer (plus 15 foot set-back) under the SMP is a dramatic reduction from the current buffer afforded the Marsh.

        1. Unless I misread it, ECDC 23.90.040(D)(1)(b) refers to streams. The marsh is not a stream and IS under the Shoreline Management Act that must be approved by the Department of Ecology. ECDC 23.90.040(D)(1)(b) says:

          D. Streams. No alteration to a stream or stream buffer shall be permitted unless consistent with the provisions of this title and the specific standards for development outlined below.

          1. Standard Stream Buffer Widths. Buffers for streams shall be measured on each side of the stream, from the ordinary high water mark. The following shall be the standard buffer widths for streams based upon the Washington State Department of Natural Resources water typing system and further classification based upon fish presence (fishbearing vs. nonfishbearing) for the Type F streams existing in the city of Edmonds:

          b. Type F anadromous fishbearing stream adjacent to reaches with anadromous fish access: 100 feet;

      2. The SEPA checklist from the Port Edmonds last Master Plan for the over-development of Harbor Square consistent of up to 358 condos, [above code] ( housing approximately 700 new residents), 50,400 square feet of retail, 9,784 square feet of new office, housed in tall buildings of 55 feet [above code], 35 feet [above code] and 45 feet [above code] – all proposed building taller than existing code. All with only a 25 foot buffer between intense and evasive over-development.

        Who are Edmonds council-members Mesaros, Teitzel and Tibbott representing when they encourage the State to cut the proposed buffers on the Edmonds Marsh in half?

  13. The Department of Ecology’s own guidelines which came out in June 2016– and which they say are based on “best available science”– recommend 110 buffers for wetlands and streams. Why are they not following their own guidelines? If there is redevelopment of Harbor Square, there is no reason why it can’t comply with these guidelines which were adopted by Ecology to assure that what little remaining wetlands we have in our state will be protected and restored. Wildlife has been at the marsh for eons before humans arrived and paved over most of it. Unfortunately, they have no voice in decisions that will determine whether they thrive or die, so we humans who care about our fellow creatures and the environment must speak up for them.
    “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

    1. Marty,

      I think you may have been given some misinformation. It is my understanding that the Department of Ecology came out with a 50 foot buffer with a 15 foot setback in June.

      1. Tina – you need to read the most current and best available science on buffers which the Dept of Ecology published in a 2016 Report that provides guidance to cities on the setting of buffers. That report is referenced in the Council’s legal and scientific justification for adopting a 110 foot buffer. The Council is obligated to follow the law whether others want to or not.

  14. I have been told that given present Port/Harbor Square property lines, buffer zones, and set-back requirements, buildings can be constructed right up to the present walkway. Maybe I missed seeing it in previous articles, but is there a map that shows current property lines, buffer zones, set backrequirements, etc?

  15. Council President Kristiana Johnson has every right to be disappointed in the Mayor using his office to advocate his personal views. Washington state law requires mayors to see that all laws and ordinances of the city are faithfully enforced. Wash. Rev. Code 35A.12.100. The Mayor has failed to carry out his statutory duty to see that City Council actions are enforced. That is an unlawful act that jeopardizes the legislative position of the City Council, the elected body of the City of Edmonds. Is Mayor Earling accountable to no one?

  16. Who cares. Set backs is not the issue. It is closing the tide gates for half a year. We all know that set backs is an economic issue. Not one that saves the MARSH

  17. We have a unique Salt Water Marsh a fraction of its original size. Everything possible needs to be done to protect it. We count on our representative council members to set policy to make that happen. Wider buffers can only help.

  18. Though the mayor of Edmonds disagrees with the official city council action regarding the marsh, it is important to remember that Mayor Earling not only does not speak for the council, he does not speak for the citizens of Edmonds. He speaks for developers.

    1. Hear Hear!!!! And I would like to see what PROOF of penalty/increased taxes if Edmonds holds down residential growth.

      1. The PROOF is simply common sense and those that think otherwise are in denial. Just examine the city’s budget documents and see the sources of the healthier revenues.

        1. That assumes that developers are not “incentivized” by a reduction in the taxes for building, or other giveaways ( funded by taxpayers) to encourage development like waivers and such. It is not clear that development results in a higher tax base at all. And taxes never seem to go down, regardless. Nor do fees like the proposed 30% plus utility rates, which are also taxed individually in the 9% range ( the base for which is the 30% already charged over the last three years). Common sense.

        2. Maybe they should stop being paid among the very top levels of pay in the state of Washington.

      2. Denise, I served on the original Economic Development Commission while the HS development was being formulated. A complete report of the plan can be obtained from the Port but here are some highlights for taxes and revenues and economic activities that would have accrued to the City if the plan were to have moved forward.

        Reviewing the HS development plan approved by the planning board shows some pretty substantial economic benefits to Edmonds. On a one-time basis for Excise Tax, Impact Fees, and Sales Tax the plan would generate $1.4m to $1.9m. Ongoing new Property, Utility, and Sales Taxes would generate $321,000 to $369,000 each year. During a redevelopment, the employment generated would be 395-616 people with and estimated payroll of $17.9m to $28.7m.

        While this would not save us from more taxes it would help to keep the services we all enjoy.

        1. Actually, with more cash, the City will just pay more to its employees, and hire more people.
          In the end, they will be just as broke.

        2. Actually when the City has more cash in recent years it put money into our road overlay project. Council voted to remove the overlay moneys back in 2008 and when the economy generated more revenues recently more that $1m per year have be put back into roads!!

  19. Nothing new with the Mayor believing he sets policy and can choose when to enforce said policy. The Old Woodway fields development is a perfect case in point. Here are the facts that the Mayor chose not to enforce.
    1. The fields are in an “Open Spaces” zoned area. NOTHING THAT RISES ABOVE THE GROUND IS ALLOWED IN THIS SPACE. (The football goalpost were “grandfathered” before annexation)
    2. The “Critical Areas Waiver” was from 1993 and required a new one if work was too be done within 50′ of the tree line.
    3. In the Open Space Zone all removed vegetation must be replaced, the artificial turf is not code compliant.

    My property was severly damaged by development next to mine and becasue the Mayor picks and chooses what to enforce, the City is now in Division 1 Appellant court, lets see what it costs them.

  20. Still no answer on tide gates. Who decides???? What do you think Mayor, City Council, Staff, ??? Who is in charge??? Maybe the guy that turns the valve. Open the tide gate and close it when needed. Not rocket science. Just someone covering their a—–.

  21. @Mr. Tissot – The tide gates are opened and closed by the City of Edmonds crews.

    If you have issue regarding the timing and reasons, it should be brought up with the Administration.

    The reason that I have heard is the threat of high (king) tides coupled with the fact that due to sediment in the Marsh and culverts causing relatively no stormwater movement when the City has rain events which results in “ponding” and flooding all around Harbor Square and State Route 104.

  22. The “reality” is that my wife and I regularly meet bird enthusiasts from all over the country at that marsh. The mayor’s attempted end run would diminish the quality of that beautiful resource. Let’s not let greed override common sense.

      1. @ Mr. Malgarin – I guess you haven’t been following my political career regarding all the work I have done to bring the Edmonds Marsh to the forefront six years ago at WRIA8 (Water Resource Area Inventory 8) whose last contact was Duane Bowman when I arrived. Our Marsh is on the 3 year WRIA8 short-list for grant funding and to date we have received close to $1.0M in funding: 1) to do a feasibility study of salmon returning to the Marsh and 2) the actual design which is now at about 80%. While I am not a scientist nor claim to be one on TV, someone needs to speak up for the environment and I am willing to take on that responsibility.

        We have a great group of citizen scientists, environmentalist, and naturalists in the greater Edmonds area who have been very helpful and supportive of this unique treasure located in our home. Former Council Members Joan Bloom and Lora Petso were also environmentalist (in theory) and were advocates for the Edmonds Marsh as well and there are many other local Council Members that fall into this category (currently Nelson, Fraley-Monillas, Johnson). There are a number of other politicians that also are looking out for our environment and I could list many local and national ones, but it would take too much time.

        So, Mr. Malgarin, I respectfully disagree with your generalization.

        In defense of the Mayor and the Minority Council Members who support the Mayor’s position: I believe everyone is interested in a healthy and restored Marsh – how we get there seems to be the issue.

        1. Maybe you should also address the illegal Edmonds Business Improvement District, which was put into place illegally.
          The City Council, fails again.

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