I wish this could be a letter of thanks… for a job well done by employees of WDFW working in cooperation with employees of the City of Puyallup to enable the golden opportunity of a silt removal demonstration project in Clarks Creek this summer. But instead of thanks, it is with utmost disappointment and anger that I write to you regarding the sabotage of this project.
As a citizen that has always worked to find solutions to problems (and not just complain about them), I have worked many years towards having the City step up to a plan that will restore Clarks Creek to its natural salmon habitat instead of just “cut the elodea” year after year. Along the way I helped create the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation for the preservation of the Puyallup Hatchery, which has a new Educational Center opening this spring. Teaching our youth how to properly care for our waterways is one of our main missions. With Clarks Creek running through the hatchery, we were thrilled when this silt removal demonstration project was slated to be done by majority vote of a task force in 2012.
So what happened? Why the disappointment and anger… especially when all permits are now approved for the work to be done this summer? Because Gina Piazza (WDFW) and Mark Palmer (City of Puyallup) have turned an estimated $40,000, sand-wand, silt removal demonstration of 400’ of Clarks Creek where there are records of the silt being 50 inches in depth, into a now three year “environmental study” at a taxpayer cost in the hundreds of thousands! In addition, instead of using the task force recommendation of Streamside Environmental, whose experience at silt removal and stream restoration, using their safe, patented and proprietary equipment is documented throughout the United States and in Canada, they have elected to invent their own patched together system of pumps, hoses and screens and “experiment” with it on our creek!
As a member of the task force I sat with both Gina and Mark, listening to months of discussions regarding a Clarks Creek restoration solution program. It sickens me that the two of them took what was agreed upon and signed by the task force and manipulated it into this mammoth, expensive, worthless effort. (More detail is attached below.)
I would like to know how on earth this happened and why. As our commissioners, my hope is that you will look into this. Restoring all of Washington’s waterways to encourage proper restoration of salmon habitat is a priority to all of us.