County proposal doesn’t protect environment

Thank you to the Herald for allowing both sides of an important environmental issue — how we will keep trees in our urban areas. (Commentaries on May 24 and May 31).

Futurewise and Pilchuck Audubon Society have been involved with this issue since the first tree replacement codes were adopted in 2009. Like many of you, we want livable, sustainable communities that include affordable housing, open space and clean water.

Large trees can help bring a sense of place and tranquility to our busy lives, not to mention help keep our air and water clean. As pointed out in the commentary on May 31, our large trees protect our soil stability, clean our air, provide noise reduction, help reduce climate impacts, and take up huge amounts of water that otherwise runoff with pollutants to our streams, rivers and Puget Sound.

With good policies and regulations, we know it’s possible for our region to grow while protecting our environment.

Unfortunately, the current tree proposal under consideration by the county fails to adequately protect our environment. Under the proposal, properties can be clear-cut provided they are replaced with six-foot saplings, which everyone hopes will provide for a 30 percent tree canopy in 20 or 30 years. But there’s no guarantee the replacement trees will survive and the little incentive the county offers to retain existing significant trees in new residential developments will allow for reducing the future 30 percent tree canopy by up to 250 percent!

We believe this is the wrong approach.

Instead of continuing to allow for clear cutting, grading off our precious top soil, building homes, and then replanting—which won’t include any monitoring or enforcement—we need a process that allows for our healthiest, strongest, and most significant stands of trees to be retained for future generations.

One of the reasons people want to live in Snohomish County is its natural beauty. Our elected officials shouldn’t fall into the false choice that protecting the environment hurts our economy. Otherwise we’ll have lots of new, empty homes and buildings.

Please stand with us as we stand up for the trees. Our remaining undeveloped land needs significant tree retention.

Kristin Kelly

Snohomish/Skagit Program Director, Futurewise, Smart Growth Director, Pilchuck Audubon Society, Snohomish

More in Opinion

Commentary: What’s love got to do with MLK Jr.’s dream?

For King, love was not sentimental; it’s a key part of creating communities that work for everyone.

Editorial: A nuclear war planner’s warning to U.S. and world

Daniel Ellsberg, famous for the Pentagon Papers, has more to say about U.S. plans for nuclear war.

Simoneaux: Bells, stars, manners and the things that guide us

GPS systems have made celestial navigation obsolete, but there’s still worth in some old practices.

Milbank: Trump latest target is no puppet of the Democrats

The founder of Fusion GPS has investigated the finances of many politicians, including the Clintons.

Tracking bracelet for Alzheimer’s patients a life-saver

The article in the Jan. 9 Herald about the missing man with… Continue reading

Education’s share of lottery funding is too small

Why is the amount of funds from the Washington State Lottery that… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Jan. 14

A sketchy look at the day in politics.… Continue reading

Viewpoints: Hollywood had to be shamed into speaking up

The industry only steps up when caught with its pants down, so spare us the lectures on morality.

Most Read