Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Water: White Smoke Over Whatcom County?

Having just watched the joyful ceremonies that confirmed the election of Pope Francis I in Rome, it seems we have also experienced our own 'white smoke' event here in Bellingham.
By all early indications, the election of Pope Francis I is being viewed as a very popular choice that emphasizes humility and the communication of true caring for all humanity.
A very worthy and timely choice, indeed!

Today's Gristle carried this story about the likely Reconveyance vote - before actual results were known.
Last night's County Council meeting was also live-blogged by Riley Sweeney, but, again, terminated before the actual decision was made.
But, this morning The Herald finished the story complete with the final vote.

Who knew that our Whatcom County Council would also tangibly demonstrate its commitment to a higher cause than the politics of division?
Like many others I had faith that the Council would eventually come to the right decision after several years of careful deliberation, but faith is always renewed by good acts that actually come to pass.
And so it was that the long-debated DNR Reconveyance of over 8 thousand acres of forestland around the Lake Whatcom Reservoir came to pass late last night by a recorded final vote of 5 to 2.
Thank goodness for that outcome!

Now, we have added assurance that we are on the right track in preserving a precious natural resource.
And, that future policy is more likely to follow and augment this example of forward-looking leadership, greatly aided and abetted by strong follower-ship by thousands of concerned citizens.
Next, comes a focus on more enlightened land use policies and storm water regulations that support the implicit policy of preservation that underlies last night's Reconveyance decision.

More very difficult decisions will be required to address the severe water degradation challenges identified by DOE's recent TMDL Report.
That means the Lake Whatcom Watershed must be viewed and treated differently than before; no longer to be considered as either an area for affordable housing or luxury mega-home sites for the wealthy, but a place to be respected for its critical importance as our long-term drinking water source.

Fortunately, de-emphasizing development of all sorts fits the idea of allowing this watershed to more closely mimic nature, which is known to be both the most effective and least expensive way to control harmful run-off into the Reservoir. An added benefit could be that additional properties will be made reasonably available for conservation purposes, thereby achieving a further desirable 'tipping point' in public opinion and perception.

I am thankful that the Reconveyance decision has been made, because it helps guide those additional right-minded decisions that must be made in the future.