Letters to the Editor

Don’t cherry-pick science

Mike Kaill, president of Friends of the San Juans, seems to support “Big Dumb Buffers,” and he is spending time criticizing Citizens Alliance for Property Rights San Juan and Island County for not embracing blanket buffers.

CAPR San Juan will continue to look for exceptional ideas and ways to protect our island environment.

We encourage our County Council to embrace education and meaningful conservation. After all, it is not whether we take actions that help the environment, but “how.”

Some of the limitations of the current approach include:

— The regulations are complex.
— They are highly procedural.
— They have uneven applicability (one size fits all).
— They rely on a single, dominant strategy.

On the other hand, adaptive management strategies can: Account for the condition and sensitivity of the critical area, account for the condition and influence of the surrounding landscape and site, and emphasize an ecological design approach. It is a process and method based with no preferred strategy at the outset.

The adaptive management approach places the wetland, stream or shoreline in an ecological and social setting. One can understand the sensitivity and vulnerability of the feature. One can understand the influences between the features and the surrounding area. One can craft management strategies that are appropriate to the feature and its setting.

If our council adopted an Analytical and Evaluative Framework that was expert based, the management actions would be far more effective. There could be preservative, protective and restorative management plans funded by equitable solutions. One has to be willing to be open-minded and to seek the best ways to preserve our precious island environments.

We feel the Friends of the San Juans support the “Big Dumb Buffers” idea as a favored tool for “prohibition” and “control” which they could more easily abuse our neighbors with through their lawsuits. CAPR San Juan favors supporting conservation, education, and best management practices.

The current draft Critical Areas Ordinance has proposed non-conforming labels and minimum-use language that will have far-reaching and long-term negative effects on our island economy, our community and the makeup of our citizenry, and on our children who might want to live close by.

From my experience, CAPR San Juan favors rigorously peer-reviewed best available science that hasn’t been cherry picked by the regulators.

Frank M. Penwell
San Juan Island

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Nov 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates