Letter questions priorities of salmon compared to bridgeOctober 18th, 2008 by cdunagan
The “Letter to the Editor” is titled “Are Salmon Higher Priority Than People?”
Since it was published online at the beginning of October, this letter has generated more than 70 comments. It has spurred a debate about the priorities of salmon and people by asking the question of why the Chico Creek restoration seems to have moved ahead of the washed-out Chico Creek Bridge.
As it is with most comments, some people carry on a reasonable conversation while others are, well, hard to explain. I’ve tried to pick out some of the more interesting statements for your enjoyment.
First the letter:
OK, Let me get this straight: Kitsap County is spending funds to “improve” and “enhance” Chico Creek for salmon habitat, then a culvert on Golf Club Road — but according to the story Chico Way’s bridge isn’t even bid out yet, has fallen behind and may not be completed till the end of next year.
Ummm, why are salmon getting priority over taxpayers? Wouldn’t it have made good sense to fix the Chico Way bridge first, THEN fix the salmon stream?
I’m scratching me head here. Can someone please explain to me why salmon get better service before the taxpayers who live along Chico Way do?
Now a few of the comments:
Foxyfox82, October 3
Perhaps because the bridge being out probably won’t be killing anyone anytime soon, it’s just an inconvienience. Whereas, for the Salmon who are not able to spawn because of the creek being messed up (and it’s that time of year RIGHT NOW), that means life and death.
NavyRogue, October 3
Just another example of our local legislators and commissioners not stepping up to the plate and addressing real issues for real people. Chico Bridge and Illahee road should have been funded by emergency funding. When they didn’t get the funding, someone should have taken the initiative to push for funding. But of course, the residents of those areas are not a concern to them.
Just remember when you vote in a couple weeks what your elected officials are really doing for you — Raising taxes to fund their pet projects, not projects that affect you.
capsea, October 3
Puget Sound used to be flush with strong salmon stock. There used to be a thriving commercial fishery. Now, you can rarely even sport fish for salmon. If that is not an emergency, I don’t know what is.
What was damaged first, the bridge or the salmon habitat? Fix the salmon, then fix your bridge. The salmon could actually give you a return on your investment, a bridge never will.
Foxyfox82, October 3
I don’t see how they couldn’t do both at the same time. Or is that too much to do all at once? I don’t live in the area, so there are probably parts of the story I don’t know, like how long it has been that way (the bridge). I was just defending the salmon, not the government. I’m sure that their reasoning is probably flawed. They probably should have gotten the bridge done a long time ago…
dahl, October 3
It is not an “inconvenience” thing. It is the amount of money spent supporting fish habitat compared to the time and money spent protecting fish habitat in order to provide for human activity. It is an outrageous travesty.
PanchoVilla, October 3
Foxyfox82 and capsea nailed it. There’s hardly any salmon runs left anymore. The salmon are the ones in a crisis. we have about 1% of historical salmon runs left. The road bridge IS an incovenience.
People seem to be doing just fine and human population growth is exploding at a rate that, in turn has decimated the salmon population.
so in this case, yes, salmon, the few runs left, are indeed more important than humans.
montym, October 3
The creek fix and the bridge fix are not necessarily “either-or” jobs. They are often done with different pots of money, often by different sections of county government.
Having spent 10 years in County Public Works I’m quite confident in saying there’s very little likelihood that anyone in County government sat down and said “screw this road fix, let’s help the fish instead.”
More likely permits, construction schedules, and funding favored one over the other this time. Trust me, roads have won out over fish plenty enough in the past that fish are still on the losing side.
Foxyfox82, October 4
dalh, you dare talk about how much is being spent on fish when our illustrious pres has put us in the poor house for a war and a bailout?
monty, dahl doesn’t care about the environment, he thinks that no money should be spent on it. I guess he thinks people have never and will never have a negetive impact on the environment, or if it does, it doesn’t matter. I shudder to think of the world dahl would create if he had his way.
DHMcCain, October 4
Salmon are more important than people. Get rid of the bridge.
geembo, October 4
The Chico Creek project has been in the works for more than four years, which includes the design, engineering, and permitting. It is also funded primarily by state grants specifically appropriated for habitat improvement work. (Not to mention the state was requiring the County to fix the fish passage problem. The nerve of Kitsap County, going out and getting grants, rather than funding it with property taxes, right?)
Conversely the bridge went down less than a year ago – money wasn’t sitting in a bank to rebuild it, engineering hadn’t been done to see that this type of damage wouldn’t occur again and the County first worked with neighbors to make sure their houses didn’t fall in the creek during the next storm by securing emergency repair grants for them from the federal govt. (USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service which also doesn’t fund bridge rebuilding)
Much of the environmental work done in the county is mandated by state and federal regulations and/or funded by state, federal or foundation grants. It is also done by volunteers who care that a healthy environment is also a healthy place to live.
If you’re only willing to pay for basic cable TV you shouldn’t complain when you don’t get all the premium movie channels too.
TomRosendale, October 4
By the way, the replacement of road culverts for fish is not entirely voluntary by the state. The tribes sued the state to require these millions (‘billion’ may be more accurate) be spent for this.
KitsapSon, October 6
How come, if indian tribes are given 50% of the catch, they don’t fund 50% of the restoration?
Meatpuppet, October 9
The useless rhetoric in these posts is giving “bickering” a bad name. Ron I will at least make an attempt to answer your question based on the information that I have found. The Salmon habitat restoration project was rather easy from financial and logistical stand point. The majority of the 3.3 million dollar bridge replacement will be funded with federal dollars, and as we all know the feds are broke so getting money for a project without a lobbyist is about as hard as getting a civil discussion out of these forums. In order to even apply for Federal funding a few things have to happen. As I am sure you noticed demolition of the collapsed bridge and associated stream stabilization was completed in April, after that the process of topographic information (survey) was gathered to assist in the design of the new bridge. Next comes the design and permit faze, which is where the project is currently. The design faze is a little more complicated, it is contingent on comments from resource agencies through the permit process and will be completed as permits are received. These include a minimum of
SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)
NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)
DCD (Department of Community Development)
JARPA (Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application)
ECS (Environmental Classification Summary) checklist
Once the approved permits are gathered it is submitted to Corps of Engineers for Nationwide Permit Approval.
The Plans, Specifications and Estimates are then submitted to WSDOT to receive approval from FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). Construction funding cannot be obligated until this approval is complete. Then the Project will be advertised for a bid which is estimated to happen around January 2009 and hopefully construction will begin in April 2009.
I share your frustration about how slow the process is, maybe if people were made out of salmon things might be different but I have a feeling the level of priority given to this project has more to do with a lack of State, County or City Executives living in that area or being directly impacted.
Pm, October 11
People don’t understand. Salmon are only a tiny piece of the picture. The beauty and diversity of wildlife are the reason most of us settled here.
Piece by piece, the great things about living here are being destroyed in favor of out of control development.
So what if we don’t save the salmon run? One small salmon run doesn’t matter, does it? YES- along with all the other tributaries, wetlands, forest lands that we are losing bit by bit.
Wake up people! our quality of life and the beauty we love about this county is being destroyed piece, by piece, by piece.
One little stream doesn’t matter? Add all the pieces we’re losing, all the compromises we’re making for developers, timber companies and real estate companies, and they will cumulatively add to the loss of the reason we love this County.
Posted by kenwidell, October 11
If you have lived in Chico for awhile as I have, then you know that the Chico creek bridges (3) have all failed multiple times in the last 20 years as the stream flows get higher and higher. I want them to take their time and do it right so they don’t have to waist money doing it again in a couple of years.
All that traffic you speak of that used to go by your house now comes by mine on Northlake Way. No one wants that bridge fixed faster than I do, so that things can get back to normal.
Seeing as so little (relativly speaking) is being done to bring back more salmon (a vital resource and indicator) to this wonderful creek that also runs through my backyard, I consider ANYTHING that gets done for their welfare a bonus. Thank God for small favors.
webfoot35, October 14
Bring out the Gill Nets. Chico Creek is ready to raid.
trackrat495, October 15
You know what they say: Save a whale – kill a baby.
Same people at work here?
hoveringuy, October 16
I’ll vote for fish over roads.
janebedinger, October 17
Wow, you are the first person I’ve heard say that. Are you the same people you are talking about?
Tags: Chico Creek