Thursday, August 16, 2007
This week I watched the property next to ours being cleared for construction of a new home. Watching the Bulldozer destroy native riparian habitat was difficult for me because when river habitat is lost the watershed is impacted. The impact on the river may be relatively small as a result of one house but as the numbers grow the quality of the river system declines. I know that there will be greater storm water runoff delivered more rapidly to the stream and less ground water recharge during dry periods. Flooding will be more severe in areas that have been denuded of the natural "sponge" affect made possible by native plants.
The multitude of native plants and their roots and the soil gives the flood plain time to absorb the excess water slowing the streams velocity during high water.
I have met our new neighbors and they are very nice people concerned about their impact on the environment and have told me that they plan to plant new native trees and shrubs to mitigate the loss due to clearing. That is great news and I look forward to having them as our neighbors as well as fellow Watershed Stewards: http://clark.wsu.edu/volunteer/ws/index.html The time my wife and I have spent watering all of the native vegetation that we planted on our property seems more significant now than it did previously. We will continue to plant native plants and remove non native plants such as Japanese Knotweed, Meadow Knapweed, English Ivy, Blackberry. etc. If invasive plants are left to grow unimpeded we will lose what we've come to love and find ourselves living in a entirely different place. At this very moment I hear the sound of the well drillers next door and realize that it is the second step in the process of constructing a new home here in our own little piece of paradise. Soon there will be other activities such as putting in a septic system and after that pouring the foundation and finally the hammers which will no doubt give our Pilieated woodpeckers a run for their money. I have made up my mind to learn something from this experience rather than waste energy fretting over it.