State parks and Puget Sound cleanup

Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,

While the Gregoire administration spends state money to clean up the Sound, other state agencies fund projects that undermine the cleanup. The Sound is dying by a thousand cuts; numerous small streams are channeled, wetlands are filled, fertilizers and other chemicals are released. Meanwhile mitigation is practiced over and over destroying the Sound slice by slice.

The truth hurts. Stream #0226 has its headwaters in Saint Edward State Park (in Kenmore) and empties into the Lake Washington. It is scheduled for destruction this fall by State Parks and the State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO). Both agencies know the stream empties into Lake Washington and ultimately into the Sound. Despite this, #0226 will be ripped up to accommodate construction of three new youth athletic fields. Ball fields are worthwhile and needed. There appears to be good justification. State Parks will donate precious natural stream parkland habitat while RCO ponies up funds.

But why destroy stream #0226? Kenmore City Council decided not to issue park bonds for youth athletic fields. Kenmore has money to pay for a new downtown and a $25 million city hall. But, with State Park land available at no cost, combined with RCO funding, Kenmore opted for the State to pay. State taxpayers will pay at the front and back side of this deal; free State Parkland, State RCO pays to tear up the stream and, at a later date, State pays for increased damage to the Sound.

~Ray Benish, Bothell, CoChair of Citizens for Saint Edward State Park

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