City Council likes wildlife refuge plan
SNOHOMISH - The proposed wildlife protection area master plan passed through last month’s City Council meeting with little objection, and it will likely return with no recommended changes for final adoption on July 16.
The presentation by the refuge steering committee “went wonderfully,” and the council members seemed happy with the plan, project manager Ann Stanton said.
The only real debate was over the proposed name for the 40-acre area located in the city’s west end along the Snohomish River near the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The committee recommended changing the name from “Snohomish Riverview Sanctuary” to “Riverview Wildlife Refuge.”
City Councilwoman Lynn Schilaty said the new name wasn’t terribly unique sounding.
Riverview Wildlife Refuge will stick unless there is a last-minute change before the July 16 vote, Stanton said.
The committee recommended the new name because of the area’s proximity to Riverview Road and Riverview Elementary. Committee members also decided that when shortened, “Sanctuary” could have alternate meanings while “Refuge” or “Riverview Refuge” retains the meaning intended for the area.
Committee chair Bill Fulton and Pilchuck Audubon Society president Kathleen Snyder were at the June 18 meeting and assisted Stanton in presenting the master plan to the council members and city staff. The Pilchuck Audubon Society owns land included in the proposed refuge and is working with the city on this project.
The society gave city staff and council members a birding checklist created for the refuge.
Some additions made to the plan since the council last reviewed it in February include new ideas for the lagoon area such as adding loop trails and “marsh-to-hilltop” mounds.
The plan includes the possibility of using Snohomish River soil and material already in the refuge to build raised levees that will create high grassland hills reaching 25 to 30 feet above the lower, wetter areas. That would allow for bird viewing below the levees. The plan also provides access for people in wheelchairs.
The refuge area would be off limits to dogs.
The main goals of the plan are to improve the area’s riparian habitat, allow limited human access for low-impact recreation, bird watching, and educational uses, promote surface water quality through storm water projects, and maintain access to the Snohomish River within city limits.
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