Department of Ecology News Release - April 22, 2015
EVERETT – A citizen activist and a county official received formal recognition today from the Washington Department of Ecology for their leadership in preserving an unusual wetland in Snohomish County.
Community activist Randall Whalen and Deputy County Executive Mark Ericks received the Environmental Excellence Award in an Earth Day ceremony, hosted by County Executive John Lovick in his office.
“Randy and Mark are directly responsible for protecting Hooven Bog,” said Josh Baldi, director of Ecology’s Northwest Region, who presented the awards. “We applaud their success in preserving a place where people can see its plant and animal life, and the way it supplies cool, clean water. People like Randy and Mark give us hope that we can not only protect special places like Hooven Bog, but also restore the health of Puget Sound."
The two led a grass-roots effort to protect 25 acres of wetland and forest between Woodinville and Maltby. Hooven Bog and its surrounding area are an example of bog and fen wetland that has become increasingly rare in western Washington.
Whalen, a local resident and a founder and director of Bear Creek Headwaters, led a legal battle against residential development along the bog’s southern shore. Using his own funds, his challenge reached the state Court of Appeals. He also worked to raise public awareness of Hooven Bog’s ecological value and the proposed development’s potential environmental costs.
His efforts caught the attention of Ericks, who assembled a county funding package to acquire and preserve the majority of Hooven Bog and adjoining forested lands. The County Council approved the plan on April 23, 2014. The purchase became final that summer. Snohomish County Parks and Recreation will manage the property as a natural area.
Bogs and fens
Bogs form over hundreds or thousands of years when plant matter decays and fills a lake bed, creating peat. Fens are similar, but can form in places where the water table is high and tend to have year-round flowing water. Both help release cool and clear water, and each is home to unique plant and animal communities.
Ecology wetland expert Paul Anderson describes Hooven Bog as a high-quality, undisturbed wetland that supports state threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant species. It is part of the headwaters of a major tributary to Bear Creek. In Redmond, about 11 miles south, Bear Creek joins the Sammamish River, which flows into Lake Washington.
Ecology’s ECOconnect blog has photos and more information about Hooven Bog and today’s award.
The Environmental Excellence Award is Ecology’s highest recognition for individuals, businesses, and organizations that show leadership, innovation, or extraordinary service in protecting, improving, or cleaning up Washington’s environment.
Larry Altose, Ecology communications, 425-649-7009, @EcySeattle
Paul Anderson, Ecology regional wetlands unit supervisor, 425-649-7148
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