Oregon is considering legislation that would allow developers to build in wetlands (marshy areas of land where the soil is saturated with water) more cheaply and quickly. This legislation would reduce the amount of wetland mitigation required in some cases, streamline the permitting process and create a pilot program to create a local mitigation bank.
Once again we are prioritizing development at the risk of seriously harming the environment. We are continuing to propagate the false belief that we can take from nature and then successfully replace what we take with our own constructs.
Ralph Tiner, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife service scientist, said, “Trying to create a wetland is like taking a vein in your arm and moving it where there is no vein. It may look like a vein, but it does not function like one.”
Human-made wetlands are usually not successful and lack the functionality of natural wetlands.
Unfortunately, wetlands are generally viewed as unproductive or marginal lands and are therefore easily targeted for drainage and conversion. Factually, wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs.
The biological diversity of wetlands is subtle and needs to be appreciated up close. Consider taking a walk on the wetland trails in west Eugene and join us in appreciating this marvelous ecosphere.
Oregon must choose to protect our limited wetlands if we are serious about the environment and the global ecosystem.
Christopher & Deb Michaels