Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Write a Comment Letter - Help Keep Samish Island Free of Docks!

Have you ever written a comment letter for a proposed land use action?  This is a great opportunity!  A large dock, over 150' long, is proposed to be built at Point William, on the northern tip of Samish Island, at the area pictured above.  We are encouraging our supporters to write comments letters this week speaking out against this dock.  Why?   The proliferation of docks in our fresh and marine waters is having a negative impact.    Docks limit public access to the shoreline and they shade the water, negatively affecting the growth of aquatic vegetation and fish migration.

Please write a letter this week.  It's easy, and you can do it online.  Use any or all of the talking points below, and state in your comments that your comments relate to case PL08-144.  Submit your comments before 4:30pm on May 29, and use this link:

Here are talking points for your letter: A 155 foot dock is proposed on Samish Island, a Shoreline of Statewide Significance. 

  • EXCESSIVE SIZE: The proposed dock is 155 feet long, covering over 1,127.3 square feet, a size greater than many houses! Skagit’s SMP states that docks should be no longer than 50 feet (without reasonable justification) and that mooring buoys are preferred.
  • CUMULATIVE IMPACTS: At present no docks exist on Samish Island. The granting of this oversized dock sets a precedent for the rest of the island. Cumulative impacts of similar potential projects are supposed to be considered, and has not been done.
  • LIMITS PUBLIC ACCESS: This dock and the potential proliferation of others around Samish Island will limit public access to the nearshore environment and surface of the water.   (Access to the land itself is not being requested as the land is privately held.)
    • Shading limits the growth of the vegetation which provides food and refuge for fish, crabs, and other marine species. In addition, fish migration and swim patterns are disrupted by shading, pushing smaller fish into the lighted water, making them vulnerable to predators.
    • The drilling of pilings used to anchor and stabilize the docks disrupts the sea floor and kills the kelp and eelgrass, creating 'net loss' of habitat.
  • SAMISH BAY, A SHORELINE OF STATEWIDE SIGNIFICANCE: These shorelines are those from which all of the people of the state derive benefit and should be managed with the interest of all of the people in mind. In addition, state code says that statewide interest should take priority over individual interests. We contend that the public is being asked to give up a large amount of a public resource to private interests with no benefit. 
If you'd like to attend the public hearing for this proposal, let us know - we'll be going!  It's at 9am, May 30, at the Skagit County Planning Department, 1800 Continental Place in Mount Vernon.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks for the comment form link! I used it! Easy as falling out of a canoe!

  2. Thanks, Rabbits Guy! We are organizing a class for people who want to learn how to write effective comment letters on land use proposals...everyone is invited!