Conservation

Chapter/Local Issues

Some issues our chapter has worked on or is working on are shown below.

If you or anyone you know would like to become active on position papers, or other conservation issues, please contact us.

National Audubon Action Alerts:  NAS_action

Current:

  • Representation on the City/County Council Water rights   Working Group

Past:

  • Post Point Herons (still actually current).

Post Point Heron Colony

heronsonnestThe Bellingham City Council in 2003 considered the “Post Point Heron Colony Management Plan 2003” which lays out conservation and management guidelines to sustain and perpetuate Bellingham’s only heron colony.

  1.  Creating a publicly-owned heron reserve finishes the job that the city council began last year when it rescinded the Post Point Vegetation Management Plan (PPVMP). This plan would have enabled a private developer to cut and clear vegetation on city property, including trees utilized by great blue herons, in order to create view corridors for an upscale development above Post Point. We managed to stop that plan because of its negative impact on the herons—so now the city council should finish the job and make it city policy to protect the heron colony by establishing a reserve.
  2. Creating a publicly-owned heron reserve is the right thing to do for these magnificent birds, which are protected wildlife under state law, and a State Priority Species. The Post Point herons were already displaced from an earlier nesting site on upper Chuckanut Bay when developers built the “Blue Heron Estates,’ constructing one house directly under a heron nest and disrupting the entire heronry. The birds have since chosen city property to rebuild their colony and they are deserving of protection.
  3. Creating a publicly-owned heron reserve fits squarely within the current discussions and political campaigns underway in Bellingham and Whatcom County that question what kind of growth we want and what kind of quality of life is worth protecting. The Post Point herons have built nests in city trees, but these trees are adjacent to private property, which has been designated for an upscale development. Do we really need to build everywhere just because we can? No! The city should acquire the adjacent private property to create a heron preserve because protecting increasingly rare urban wildlife is a goal worth pursuing even when it requires creative fundraising to succeed.
  4. Creating a publicly-owned heron reserve would enhance Whatcom County’s value as a birding destination. Bird watching is a lucrative and low-impact source of revenue. The city of Bellingham is already listed Audubon Washington’s “Great Washington State Birding Trail” map. Adding a protected heronry to that map, as well as to other Audubon and birding enthusiasts’ promotions, would bring tourist dollars to our community.

To review the entire Post Point Heron Colony Management Plan, download some or all of the files below (note that some of the files are VERY large, you might only want to look at the summary, which is fairly small, along with the aerial view of the proposed heron reserve):

Introduction (20 Mb pdf file)
Management Plan (10 Mb pdf file)
Summary of Recommendations (76 kb pdf file)

Note that as of June 2014, the Heron colony is still not fully protected from development.