SAVE the THURSTON OAKS
Sadly, unfortunately and as expected the Hearing Examiner’s office has approved the preliminary plat proposal for the Oak Tree Development. This plat is located just off Marvin Road between the Evergreen Forest Elementary School and the Burlington Northern Railroad Tracks.
The impacts of this development are remarkably significant on a number of levels:
The loss of 275 acres of woodlands, 70 acres of which are White Oak prairie (the largest Oak habitat left in Thurston County.) The White Oak is considered a protected habitat in Washington State, though the approved plan calls for division of the habitat and eradication of half of it. These are slow-growing trees and the Oak Grove is quite old (300-500 years). Once this habitat is removed it will be gone forever.
The entire area drains into the Nisqually Watershed, by way of McAllister Springs, McAllister Creek and thus the Puget Sound. The additional pollutants (herbicides, pesticides, plastics, storm water runoffs) will undoubtedly further impact the health of the Watershed, the Sound, the Shellfish preserves and, of course, the Salmon.
Amazingly, all of this has been approved without an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) having been performed. Through a series of Mitigations of Determined Non-Significance (MDNS) the EIS has been out-maneuvered and rendered mute. The EIS is the people’s voice of safe and sustainable environmental practices that assure all Thurston County residents of an accountable, transparent mode of responsible stewardship of our County’s land use practices and the safety of our population through enforcements concerning proposed land use developments, clean water and clean air. I believe our county residents demand more from our County Stewardship Council than a rubberstamp of approval on such a highly contentious development project. This development is being grandfathered in under 1990 Critical Areas ordinances and not under the current 2010 regulations.