Keeping an eye on Snohomish County government

Category Archives: Mismanagement

Is PSNERP “Restoration” Site an Army Corps Make-Work Project?

PSNERP is a large Army Corps of Engineers initiative for the Puget Sound region, comprising eleven “restoration” projects in six Washington State Counties, including Snohomish and Skagit. (Visit the project overview page.)
Curiously, one of these sites was recently diked by the Corps at a cost of $3.5 million, but is now on the Corps PSNERP list to tear down those same dikes, for “restoration.”
Why? According to the Corps, it was all planned that way from the beginning.
Rone Brewer, a member of the Washington Water Fowl Association, tells us:
Farmed Island is in Skagit County at the mouth of the South Fork of the Skagit River near Conway.  The original fish restoration project (named Deepwater Slough) was completed in 2003 and included a 6 year public participation process that developed 11 alternatives and one of the alternatives was selected through the public process.  The selected alternative/project moved dikes back, preserving about 95% (200 acres) of the farmed land for waterfowl management and public access, while restoring about 200 acres of formerly diked land to intertidal conditions.  After the project was completed, a contract was signed between WDFW [WA Fish and Wildlife] and the Corps of Engineers.  On the face of the contract it says the dikes shall be maintained in perpetuity.  But, within a few months of completion of the first Deepwater Slough/Farmed Island project, it appears the same land that was just preserved behind brand new dikes at a cost of about $3,500,000 was nominated as a potential project under the PSNERP process.  And in the current PSNERP project listings Deepwater Slough II is discussed as a “continuation” of the original project.  This is utter hogwash…we did not negotiate and select a project and spend $3,500,000 so the project could be dismantled 12 years later.
The intertidal conditions Rone refers to here, are popularly believed to benefit salmon, although they’ve never been shown to successfully improve salmon runs. Sadly, it appears some folks at the Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife, and other restoration organizations, have been planning all along to tear down the newly created Farmed Island dikes in favor of salmon.
(Submit your comments about PSNERP to the Army Corps of Engineers, by email at, or mail (must be postmarked by Jan. 8, 2015.)

Three Inmate Deaths in One Month
Is Transitional Housing an Answer?

A sobering disclosure came September 30th, when Snohomish County reported an inmate suicide, the third inmate death in a month, the thirteenth since 2010. Read the article . It’s unclear whether inmate deaths are especially high in Snohomish County jails or depressingly normal. Comparative statistics for individual jails aren’t available. We do know, fromContinue Reading

Snohomish County Negotiates $575,000 Settlement
Part 2: The Public Records Act

Good news! Washington State has at least one really great piece of legislation. Our Public Records Act, RCW 42.56! Washington’s PRA is the best in the Country, according to Glen Morgan of the Freedom Foundation. It makes public records in our State more accessible than records in any other state in the Union. Read theContinue Reading

Snohomish County Settles With Nonprofit For $575,000
Part 1: What Happened?

Wow! 575,000 big ones to a tiny nonprofit in Monroe! Citizens for Sustainable Development, a corporation made up of only two (related) members, struck it rich by suing our County for four violations of the Public Records Act. Four! Four out of about 275. (Read the story.) Gee, is it that easy to gameContinue Reading