A recent editorial by The Olympian suggested the imperative of public policy being “reasoned and smart.” That description should resonate with all of us who are seriously interested in efficient and effective government, especially environmental policy.
Two projects in our area offer examples. Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail administered by our productive South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group has educated about 75,000 persons (mostly children) emphasizing the habitat needs of wild salmon. This has been done at a total cost of about $75,000.
The Elwha dams removal project has re-opened about 50 miles of spawning grounds to the five Pacific Salmon species plus steelhead and bull trout. A substantial, long overdue investment for sure, and the returns should be magnificent.
Please note that both projects promote enhancement of wild, self-sustaining salmon stocks which require no ongoing propagation (hatchery) costs. They represent reasoned and smart strategies which, in the long term will simultaneously yield more salmon and allow more public funds to be saved or spent more effectively.
By contrast, destroying Capitol Lake and re-creating the intertidal mudflat in urban Olympia at a cost of $258 million does virtually nothing for wild, self-sustaining salmon. Additionally, our community’s most knowledgeable and experienced academicians have shown that water quality in Budd Inlet will likely be adversely affected if the lake is destroyed.
We should prioritize the $258 million toward reasoned and smart investments which actually improve our stocks of wild, self-sustaining salmon and promote a healthier Puget Sound.