[SEN-M] Public Forum: 6pm Tuesday, 4/22/2008 - South Ridgeline Habitat Study (SRHS)
matthews at artifice.com
Mon Apr 21 21:54:05 PDT 2008
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Eugene Planning Commission is holding an important public forum to collect public comment on the South Ridgeline Habitat Study (SRHS), and specifically on the "conservation proposal" that staff has prepared.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Eugene City Hall
777 Pearl Street
This is the study we discussed as a neighborhood at our February general meeting. And it is VERY relevant to the overall and long term preservation of the Amazon Headwaters!
The City has sent out notice of this meeting to their list of landowners with related property (about 2000), so you can be sure some of them will come out to comment.
A much smaller notice list went to "interested parties" (perhaps 400) who have sent in testimony or signed up to be included.
I think the bottom line is that this SRHS needs a LOT of work before it is ready to become the basis for city conservation policy in the south hills.
Can you imagine, a supposedly-comprehensive study of headwaters and south hills habitats that doesn't account for where the wetlands are? That makes no measurement of its effects on pileated woodpecker nesting territories?
Some current areas of concern include:
GOAL 5 PLANNING
- upland habitats have been drastically short-changed - there is no scientific basis for giving key upland habitats categorically less protection than riparian and extensive wetland habitats
- the other habitat types (riparian and wetland) each got some decent regulatory protections through the Goal 5 process
- this study and proposal, which are remedial for the terrible abuse of uplands under Goal 5 during the Torrey mayorship, would still do nothing regulatory even for the highest tier of important habitats under their own criteria
- after 20 years of delays in establishing Goal 5 protections for important upland natural habitats, the time for excuses and half- or quarter-measures has all been used up
- since this will be used as input to the upcoming general land inventory, it is really important to get it right now!
WEAK INVENTORY APPROACH
- the conservation measures need to start from a really solid biological inventory
- the city insisted on using an outdated approach to biodiversity, focused almost exclusively on rarity, rather than on broad ecological function. This approach is error-prone, fails to support common but important native species, and tends to drive common species into scarcity before considering protection for them.
- the fieldwork site visits where wholly inadequate for our topography, including only about 7% of sites
- the City willfully failed to use available citizen science to help fill the huge gaps in their data
- for example, there is no mapping of included wetlands in the south hills habitats
- because, for instance, wetlands are not mapped, it fails the intent of Goal 5 to lead toward clarity of both what is to be conserved and what can be developed.
- the inventory is based on a miserly set approach to habitat identification
- even for habitats on public lands, the proposed conservation approach are vague and weak at best
- the tiers of habitat quality seem to be defined for political rather than ecological reasons
- the top tier of habitats is tiny, with only 90 acres of non-public land, out of thousands of acres of previously-Goal-5 habitat in the study
- even though this would be a long term plan - in effect permanent - the needs of species and habitats in the face of climate change are not addressed. Nor are the energy costs of peripheral and higher-elevation development.
- the proposed changes to south hills regulation are virtually meaningless--and could even be a danger to the meagre protections now in place
If you can make it to the Eugene City Council Chambers for an hour or two at 6pm on Tuesday - to testify, or just to bear witness - you'll help us make a show of citizen concern that could really pay off in getting this crucial study fixed over coming months.
with best wishes,
Working together to preserve the livability of our most
immediate surroundings, for all the people and creatures
therein, and for generations to come.
Please help save Eugene's threatened Pileated Woodpeckers
and Amazon Creek Otters! Support headwaters stewardship
and upland wildlife habitat protection.
Please help stop destructive infill development. Support
the South Hills Study, design standards, and design review.
Think globally - Act neighborly! (tm)
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