Sierra Pacific – 208th Street – Wetland

[Guest column on the Army Corps “decision” 2014 Sierra Pacific site on 208th St. in Spanaway]

Letter To: Dennis Hanberg; Scott Sissons; Bruce Dammeier:

I have contacted the USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers) staff personnel now in charge of this area and am waiting for them to call back.  Meantime, I am proceeding with my complaint to the Inspector General regarding any lack of reference to the hands on delineation that was to have been confirmed or performed by Army Corps staff in the wettest time of 2014 – which was not in May!!!  Even reporting a series of 15 “individual” wetlands over a relatively small acreage should have drawn attention and required delineation to confirm there is not water there.  All of that water flowed into the county atlas and NWI listed wetland/critical area that covers the entire center of the property on the north of 208th.  Did you provide that information to the Army Corps?  Of course not!

Additionally, you may not legally use an old 2014 report as the basis for approval in 2018, and you already know this!  Conditions change over time, and I have found no reference to delineations done at the wettest time of the year in either 2014 or 2018, and since you may not use an old 2014 approval letter for unverified and non-delineated wetlands, it must now have been done in 2018 – something that all 3 of you are aware is US Code law!

Someone will answer for this!  People from that area are starting to submit their first hand knowledge and photos of the historic water and flooding on that property, which according to them is also supposed to be a wildlife refuge.  Many have already stated that it floods across 208th during heavy rains.  There is no way the 2 waterways I tracked on both the east and west side of this property is made up of a bunch of little “insignificant” wetlands or it would not flood across the roadway.  There is clear satellite evidence of small but still important waterway on the west side, and I could not locate any indication all of these 15 individual “insignificant” wetlands. I have, however, tracked the waterway that flows through the land from 208th to 200th.  That water used to flow to Clover Creek until planning staff approved land disturbance that literally wiped out that waterway and destroyed that recharge area to the Creek.

I am requesting that the Inspector General’s office (who has authority over the USACE) instruct the AC staff to produce the physical delineation reports that either they or pierce County staff prepared in 2014, as they did not indicate any actual soil typing or testing on any part of that property to verify no water or hydric soil.  The photos of the dump truck loaded with soil in July of this year clearly show black hydric soil.

Someone must answer for this loss!  All of that water used to make its way to Clover Creek until this county’s staff permitted the outright destruction of the water path to the creek – not just on this property but in many places along this creek.  It seems we cannot stop our county from approving actions that further destroy the water flow in Clover Creek while staff chooses to ignore the fact that Clover Creek is also the headwaters of 2 other creeks downstream.  Every time this county approves development that destroys yet more of the water supply to Clover Creek, it damages the supply to these other creeks as well.  Trained staff would know this.  Damaging this critical water supply is another slap in the face of all the agencies and volunteers struggling to keep the Salmon in Clover Creek on behalf of our rapidly declining Orca population who are literally starving to death. 

Trained staff would know this as “downstream impact”, something that should be considered of great importance to anyone actually trained in this field.  Something that the law says you are supposed to know and care about – and protect.

Last week I received a notification from New York, a big story of how the WA Orcas & Salmon continue to face extinction.  New York!!!  Why is it that the so-called leaders of this county do not even have the same concern for the extinction of 2 of our most valued State representative species as a State on the other side of the country does, do you think?

Honest development approval means, do it right, by the law, by the book, or don’t do it at all.  Pierce County is not above the law!

Cindy Beckett | Master Watershed Steward | no water – no life

The health of the people Depends directly on the Health of their watershed




One Comment Add yours

  1. Judy Scott says:

    Excellent Marianne! Thank you for bringing this to our collective attention. I will take you up in my airplane for aerial photos of this massive invasive environmental hazard.

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