Two sides of wetland values
The coastal wetland regulations mentioned by Mr. Laird are indeed onerous except it would seem when it comes to coastal dune management. The filling of protected dune wetlands that follow vegetation removal programs has been happening unregulated and unmonitored for decades. Ironically, if the plants that have been torn out are simply left alone, peer reviewed studies show wetland areas are actually created along with dune forest habitat. Simply put we can grow wetlands and bank them for future mitigations by simply putting a stop to the tearing out of coastal plants. Millions of dollars would be saved as well.
While the Coastal Commission staff is aware of these wetland impacts, they continue to turn a blind eye.
Conversely, when a rancher or land manager wants to repair or strengthen a levy the hurdles become almost impossible even though the importance of doing so is clear as Mr. Laird points out.
The Bay Trail will also need considerable mitigations because filling coastal freshwater wetlands is a part of the trail building plan. Unfortunately, it appears that valuable freshwater wetlands at the Lanphere Wildlife area will be converted to salt marsh in those mitigations. I wish I could tell you that makes sense.
Our community is going to have to make a choice. Are coastal freshwater wetlands as valuable as we say they are, or should we keep converting them into salt marsh and fill them with destabilized sand just because we want a trail and some people don’t like certain plants?
It seems the Coastal Commission and the County has two sets of rules or at least different enforcement priorities. While they may act as if the Coastal Act is preventing the securing of levies and subsequent protection of wetlands and agriculture, the concern seems a bit contrived. If they would just enforce the Coastal Act evenly, we would be building freshwater wetlands in the dunes and thus be able to protect agriculture lands, infrastructure and wildlife areas at the same time.
A big, beautiful... moat?
Perhaps it’s time for Trump to get “moativated.”
President Trump claims he has a large base that demands to see a wall built to protect the southern border. Yet his idea that United States citizens should finance this promised Mexico paid-for wall appears to be stuck in Congress.
Instead, I think he should think outside the box and get “moativated.”
I propose the U.S. government give his base free shovels with which to dig a moat along the border. Then fill it with water and relocate from down south a few thousand or so alligators. Finally, put up some southward-facing signs in English and Spanish with the warning “Danger: Cross at Your Own Peril.”
This idea is really no crazier than some of the others Trump has come up with in his first two years; and who knows, it might work!