Public comment: Create wildlife habitat along the 520 corridor

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Submitted by Larry Hubbell, on behalf of the eagles, herons and other species living near 520 in Union Bay:

The current 520 plans contain a number of positive environmental improvements, for example:

  • Daylighting the lower portion of the Arboretum Creek.
  • Replacing wetlands destroyed on Foster Island with new wetlands west of the current Arboretum offramp.
  • Adding water collection and filtration systems so highway runoff stops polluting the lake.
  • We want to reinforce these goals and we do not wish to see any of them negotiated away to meet budget constraints. In addition, we would like to add a few common sense requests that require more thought than money. For instance:

  • Please schedule work on Foster Island and the nearby wetlands to occur in fall and winter so young birds will have a chance to leave their nests and mature.
  • Leave a couple of the current, tall 520 overpass support columns in place as nesting sites.
  • Engage environmentalists to design nesting sites on the surface of walls built around the bridge. The current 520 bridge supports nesting sites for Barn Swallows, Cliff Swallows and Rock Doves around Foster Island. We can do even better if we make an effort.
  • Route filtered 520 runoff into the Arboretum Creek as far upstream as possible. Every drop of clean water flowing through the creek increases our chances of getting salmon to spawn in the stream.
  • Plant trees around the stream and the water collection sites to help keep the water as cool as possible. Salmon need cool water to spawn.
  • Widen the day-lighted and regraded portions of Arboretum Creek to support increased water flow in the future. Once Arboretum Creek is reconnected to its original water sources it will support an abundance of spawning salmon, as it did originally.
  • Please ensure the stream bottom contains small, round pea gravel needed by spawning salmon.
  • If you have additional ideas for logical, common sense ways we could help ensure the 520 project is nature-friendly please add them in your email as well.

    Please take this opportunity to remind the folks at the Washington State Department of Transportation to keep nature in mind as they move forward. Please feel free to copy any of the following suggestions and email them to the WSDOT address given below.

    WSDOT’s public comment period for the Seattle 520 Community Design Process ends Friday, October 5th. Submit this or other comments to: SeattleCommunityDesign@wsdot.wa.gov.