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LWW Lands Reconveyance
Review Panel

The Whatcom County Executive has convened a Citizens' Panel to make an analysis of the proposed lands Reconveyance, and give its recommendations back to him, by the end of June 2008.

The owner of this website was appointed to this Panel.

Here is the "charge" given to the Panel:
  • Assess the impact of the proposal on the Lake Whatcom Reservoir, watershed, and natural resources;
  • Consistency with the landscape and recreational plans;
  • Assess the fiscal impact and costs
  • Make a recommendation for action to the County Executive.

The panel held its first meeting on Monday, April 10th, 2008, and heard a general report on the Lands Reconveyance proposal, presented by County Parks and Rec Director Mike McFarlane.

The manager of this site proposes the following items for the study:
Stakeholder Review Panel

The four proposed tasks -- and my first-cut comments.

I ask for discussion among us on each of these......... Do you concur that the bullet-items I have drafted are reasonable? Or, write your own.


Task a) Assess the impact of the proposal on the Lake Whatcom Reservoir, watershed, and natural resources;
  • We must consider the entire watershed, not only the lands to be actually reconveyed.
  • We must consider the direct impact of the transfer on all lands which would remain harvestable, since they are outside the reconveyance block.
  • We must consider the direct impact of continued logging on any lands which similarly remain harvestable.
  • We must consider the profitability for other landowners (including DNR), by "giving" them forest stands which they can then log or develop & urbanize - so as to give them additional profits, or increasing public expenses, or harming the Reservoir.
Task b) Consistency with the landscape and recreational plans;
The Landscape Plan:
We should assure there is no reduction of the established constraints and controls on logging in the watershed which are in the approved Landscape Plan. (That Plan probably should have been even more strict, as argued by the citizens when the plan was being established.)

Recreational Plans: We should seek:
  • to avoid encouragement of powerboats on the Lake.
  • to avoid encouragement of vehicular traffic within the watershed - which means:
    • no new roads -
    • no more widening of existing roadways -
    • no new lanes.
  • to minimize impervious surfaces.
  • to maximize efforts toward zero possibility of sewerage discharges:
    • into the Reservoir,
    • into the creeks, and
    • on the ground within the watershed.
  • to maximize efforts toward zero possibility of toxic spills.
  • no use of phosphorus fertilizers (already policy, but seemingly not actively enforced.)
Task c) Assess the fiscal impact and costs;
We should:
  • Find replacement revenues for the School Districts and for other beneficiaries who have received income from the timber sales.
  • Define the capitol costs for every structure related to the transfer and the new uses, and the source of revenue for each.
  • Define the costs of O&M for every related activity, and the source of revenue for each - for a planning period of 20-50-years.
  • Define the costs of lost property-tax revenue for all parcels affected.
  • Define consultant costs for every related activity or study.
Task d) Make a recommendation for action to the County Executive.

Either:
Option A) We recommend that the County accept the transfer, but only under certain conditions:
1) ......
2) ......
3) ......
....and likely many more.....

or

Option B) We recommend that the County not accept the transfer, for the following reasons.............

Your thoughts, please.

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