Pierce County ditch maintainance too much?

[Letter to the Editor]

Midland, WA — 5/22/2012  These are 2 different mother ducks.  One had 4 babies the other had 5.  Both were driven from their nests when public works mowed their ditch here despite all of our yearly efforts to gain their protection by getting PW to delay mowing.  They showed up in my yard, confused and unsettled.  These ducklings were far too small to be out of their nests. After this happened, public works said they would wait until June to mow in the future.  As you see from their 2014 response below, it was an outright lie.  Shameful, pierce County!!!  Why do you have to kill everything?

This has been an on-going issue for many years.  Every year, according to their timetable of convenience, PC Public Works insists on mowing out our little back road ditches while the ducks are nesting, even though it is unnecessary to do it so early.  The county denies these ducks even nest in these ditches and insist that there is no reason to protect these creatures.  This despite all of the photos they have been sent of all these ducks here.  2 years ago, immediately after they mowed out the ditches, I had 2 mother ducks with their clutches of little babies huddled in my back yard, unsure of what to do next.  Their nest protection had been destroyed AGAIN by public works.  In spite of all the blather from them about how much they care, PW will in fact argue back incessantly that it is their right to mow these ditches, according to their convenience, regardless of what lives in there, and that they do not consider wetland ditches to be habitat.  We have lost a lot of wildlife, frogs, salamanders, etc, in this area due to this blatant disregard for both the wildlife and the people of this community.  There is no excuse for this at all.  The false claims that somehow the vegetation on these ditches on these little back roads is a safety concern is the result of sheer laziness and nothing more.  This particular ditch system drains a multiple-spring fed wetland and creek system and flows directly to the N Fork of Clover Creek.  The water flows with a current in wet months, a perfect choice for our ducks.

Last year, public works agreed not to mow until June so that the baby ducklings could get big enough to leave the nests.  This year, they came through in early May again, insisting that it was a “safety issue” (ridiculous on these little back roads) and that they never said they would wait until June.  They also stated that there is no wildlife in any of these ditches.

I was asked if I could take the below viral so many more people could be aware of this annual activity of destruction.  Unfortunately I don’t know how to do that.

If anyone feels so moved, a call or email to both the executive’s office and PC public works would be greatly appreciated by Midland’s wildlife – and all other communities’ wildlife too!.

bziegle@co.pirece.wa.us

rtalbert@co.pierce.wa.us

pmccart@co.pierce.wa.us

Thanks for caring about our wildlife here, everyone!

Regards,

Cindy Beckett

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