Conservation Report - May 2022
- Last Updated: April 27, 2022
By Tim Manns
Audubon’s core goal of protecting birds, other wildlife, and their habitat is never finished, but it’s important to pause and note successes. At April’s start, Thurston Superior Court Judge James Dixon affirmed that state parks are not appropriate places for training the Navy’s special forces. The training is vitally important; there are many other places to do it. Audubon’s interest is in protecting the wildlife habitat state parks and adjacent marine waters provide.
Also in April, the company proposing a large quarry at the Cascade Big Bear Mine near Marblemount declined to continue pursuing a mining permit. Changing an earlier decision, the Department of Natural Resources determined an environmental impact statement was needed given the likelihood of significant impacts from this long-term project. The quarry stone, Shuksan greenschist, contains asbestos. Mining it safely requires very rigorous procedures - just one of a litany of problems. This was the second mining attempt Skagit Audubon opposed at this location, both times on the grounds that there would be significant negative impacts to wildlife. The face of the quarry cliff, for example, hosts an active peregrine falcon nest.
Other efforts to protect birds, wildlife, and habitat continue. Skagit County’s draft Shoreline Master Program still ignores effects of climate change on flooding and sea level rise with myriad implications for wildlife, people, and the environment on which both depend. On the bright side, it’s spring, and May’s a terrific time for birding as neotropical migrants return from their wintering grounds and sing to start the breeding season.
Audubon members can advocate for regional and national protection of birds and other wildlife and their habitat through action alerts from National and Washington Audubon. Sign up for Audubon Washington’s Action Network at Join Our Action Network | Audubon Washington (replace my name and address with yours). The National Audubon website (Advocacy & Action | Audubon) describes numerous current conservation campaigns. Sign up there to receive national alerts. Also see the Audubon Washington blog for information about many interesting and important issues: AuduBlog | Audubon Washington
For other issues Skagit Audubon tracked during the past year, some ongoing, see earlier issues of Conservation Notes on the chapter’s website: Skagit Audubon Society - Home under the Conservation tab at the top of the page.