Save Our Marsh sent the following letter to the Point Edwards Homeowners Association and requested that it also be published as a letter to the editor
To: Point Edwards Homeowners Association
We urge you to revisit your Landscape Management Plan with an eye towards the adverse as well as beneficial aspects of vegetation management on wildlife in the area. We appreciate the desire to maintain views of the beautiful environs around Point Edwards, and only ask that your landscape planning take into account and “balance” the value of trees for life history needs of wildlife (as well as human health) with property owner desires for open views.
The vegetated strip on the hillside below the condos is part of the Willow Creek wildlife corridor, and the timing, numbers, and species of trees removed and replanted should take this into account. Removing patches of mature trees all at one time is likely to adversely affect the wildlife that utilize those trees and affiliated habitat. Great blue herons used to nest in areas of dense alder trees between the marsh and the Point Edwards property, and herons have been observed in recent years carrying nesting material over the marsh (though no active nests have yet been documented). Bushtits and other birds commonly use alder trees for their nests. Deer fawns and coyote pups have also been observed in the wildlife corridor.
As you know, with WSDOT terminating their plan to relocate the ferry terminal below Point Edwards, the Save Our Marsh group has urged the city and State to designate the old Unocal property as a wildlife reserve (or sanctuary) with a tidal channel across it to bring back salmon and restore the estuary. Thus, vegetation management on the hillside above the old Unocal property will be important for and affect wildlife restoration.
We ask that the Point Edwards Homeowners Association consider incorporating the “Certified Wildlife Habitat” criteria established by the National Wildlife Federation (see: www.nwf.org/certify ) into your Landscape Management Plan, and obtain wildlife habitat certification and post signs of such on your property. We’d also suggest the association consult a wildlife ecologist in making necessary revisions to the Landscape Management Plan.
We did note that the SEPA checklist that you sent to the City of Edmonds does not adequately address wildlife in the area, nor the potential adverse effects of tree removal on wildlife. Further, the SEPA checklist does not acknowledge the wildlife value and usage of the stormwater detention pond on your property. Even though it is a manmade pond, it has become a valuable asset to wildlife and any tree removal near the pond can adversely affect that wildlife.
Bill Anderson, a local wildlife enthusiast and photographer who recently passed away, documented 28 different bird species from 2013 to 2016 in the “Point Edwards Walkway, Condos, Unocal” area. The following bird species that Bill has documented at Point Edwards should be addressed in the SEPA document: Canada goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern shoveler, Redhead, Ring-necked duck, California quail, Great blue heron, Green heron, Bald eagle, Cooper’s hawk, Sharp-shinned hawk, Rufous hummingbird, Anna’s hummingbird, Northern flicker, Steller’s jay, American crow, Violet-green swallow, Barn swallow, Bushtit, Bewick’s wren, Ruby-crowned kinglet, American robin, Cedar waxwing, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed junco, Red-winged blackbird, and American goldfinch. Deer (adults and fawn), coyotes (adults and pups) and racoons have also been observed at Pt Edwards and should be addressed in the SEPA document.
Thank you for your consideration of our request to modify your Landscape Management Plan to “balance” wildlife needs and the value of mature trees to human health and well being with your goal to maintain views.
on behalf of Save Our Marsh