Friday, September 30, 2011

Sediment, Salmon and Counting All the Costs

Bellingham Bay salmon

I am attending a sediment pilot project meeting next week. The meeting is to explore possible sediment removal within the Nooksack River for flood control purposes. Proponents for gravel removal from the river tend to think sediment removal is a "common sense" approach to flood control. These kind of situations are hard for geologists that have knowledge and information that contradicts what is to some "common sense". To be clear for those "common sense" gravel removal proponents, I have advocated for gravel removal on streams in the past when the data or clear observations dictated that sediment removal was an appropriate approach for public safety and necessary flood/erosion hazard reduction.

Flood and river erosion control proponents tend to see the benefits of the project as it relates to a specific piece of land. There is of coarse a cost beyond the cost of the project. Plentiful, cheap, wild fish is a benefit to living in western Washington. There is a cost when the habitat for those fish is not considered as much as it should be. I will be thinking of those very tasty inexpensive salmon dinners I had last week during the meeting. 

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