Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lake Padden Needs You!

In 35 years as a resident of Bellingham, I’ve swam, hiked, biked, birdwatched, walked, run, paddled, hunted for mushrooms, and just sat still and admired Lake Padden, hundreds of times. I don’t know a single person around here who doesn’t love the lake. It’s a splendor, and appeals to everyone. If you act soon, you can do your part to help protect this local treasure.

Whatcom County is proposing to expand its development potential by expanding the Bellingham Urban Growth Area (UGA) in the Yew Street area, which is within the Lake Padden watershed. This area is currently listed under “UGA Reserve” status, which means it is designated to provide for future expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) over a long-term period, allowing for cost effective planning for public facilities and services once these lands are included within the UGB.

Join me and hopefully LOTS of people at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 28, at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Whatcom County Council. Tell them this: please do not make a decision on the Lake Padden rezone until fall of 2012, when the results of two Lake Padden water quality studies and a watershed land use study are complete. Making the decision before the results of these studies are available is a bad idea. If you can't come to the meeting, call the council members or write them a letter.

Water quality in Lake Padden is already compromised – it is listed as an impaired water body on the Department of Ecology’s 303(d) list for PCBs. Lake Padden Creek (the lake’s outlet) is listed on the 303(d) list for dissolved oxygen and temperature. Urbanizing the Yew Street area will likely result more impervious surfaces, increased stormwater and pollutant loading to the lake. I hope this community acts against urbanizing our lake – it’s a bad idea. For more information, check the People for Lake Padden website: http://w.p4lp.org/

Check the County’s website for updates or changes to the council meeting time, and for council member email addresses and phone numbers: http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/council/meetings/meetings.jsp

See you at the meeting!

Photo credit: Phil Humphries

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