In response to several recent letters, I agree that we need to preserve rural streams. I disagree that this requires giving up on urban streams. A lot can happen in urban streams. The proposed Westman Mill development lies in the middle of the historic estuary of Moxlie Creek, the most critical section of the stream, the place where fresh water and nutrients enter the marine environment. Driving 100-foot pilings into the heart of the estuary means it can never be restored. It would cost us nothing to say no.
The Puget Sound lowlands ecoregion is heavily urbanized. If we’re going to give up on urban streams, we’re giving up on orcas, salmon, diving ducks and other species that rely on a healthy food web. In aquatic environments, it all begins with plankton and plankton require sunlight.
To fully understand how out of step Olympia is, check out: California Creek in Blaine, Carpenter Creek in Kingston, Clear Creek in Silverdale, Edmonds Marsh, Lake Merritt estuary, Alviso Marsh, Elkhorn Slough, Bolsa Chica and the Arroyo Burro estuary in Santa Barbara. Many inland communities such as Walla Walla and San Luis Obispo that lack an estuary still recognize the value of their streams. No other place on earth has such disdain for its streams.