LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Who is minding the store?

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For those who watch the real-estate comings and goings here in Walla Walla, you may have observed the latest marketing efforts behind the Provenance subdivision located at the eld of Alder Street, just past Assumption School.

But have you also noticed the extreme clearing of trees, brush and natural habitat along the south branch of Yellow Hawk Creek that runs directly through the area under construction?

In the eyes of this concerned citizen, it's extreme. This development has been under scrutiny by citizens over the years because the creek flows through a Critical Ordinances Area.

The federal and local requirements to maintain shade over Yellow Hawk Creek and keep this stretch cool and lush for habitat and fish seems to have been ignored by the developers. Of course, the flip side of all this is that the area has been "beautified" and much of the creek is now better exposed to potential property owners in the Provenance development, potentially increasing the value of those properties.

The laws are clear regarding the clearing of the brush along the waterway and these laws were ignored.

Calls to the Walla Walla Joint Community Development Agency were made and this case is being addressed. That office is waiting on a report from the developers addressing this issue. A consulting biologist has been asked to look at the change to assess what kind of impact the clearing of trees and brush will have on the fish in the stream.

That's great, but obviously the clearing and cutting has already occurred. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. So this raises the questions:

Who's in charge of overseeing our natural resources and are we willing to ignore the rules and regulations set up to protect the natural beauty of our waterways and the health of the salmon in exchange for an increased property tax base?

Steve Michener

Walla Walla

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