The Lake Lawrence Cell Tower Proposal: Onward to the Bird Surveys

The Lake Lawrence Cell Tower Proposal: Onward to the Bird Surveys

On March 15, 2016, Black Hills Audubon Society (BHAS) supported an appeal of the proposed Lake Lawrence cell-phone tower at a hearing before the Thurston County Hearings Examiner. Due to the tower’s location next to waterfowl concentration areas and high potential for bird collisions with the tower, the Hearing Examiner remanded the proposal back to the County for further review. Verizon Wireless has now hired a contractor to study bird movements near the site; so instead of abandoning the proposed tower site and moving their tower to a less impactful location, Verizon insists that they can prove their tower will have no effects on local wildlife. Concerned about potential bias by Verizon’s contractor, the neighborhood group who appealed the tower has asked for Audubon’s assistance with bird surveys to have data in hand in the event of another appeal hearing.

A local wildlife researcher has donated his time in compiling a monitoring plan that has since been peer-reviewed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. BHAS member Anne Mills has created an educational PowerPoint© presentation of local migratory birds in the Lake Lawrence area and has given two presentations to neighborhood volunteers. Anne says, “It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm and interest in learning about birds from the local community.” Neighborhood members have organized a survey calendar for the 163rd-Lane wetland waterfowl area next to the proposed construction site; they are looking for experienced birders to assist volunteers with weekly surveys through April of this year. BHAS birders Ken Brown, Bob Wadsworth, Bill Yates and Hank Henry have volunteered to help with the surveys.

Black Hills Audubon members who may want to help with this effort should contact Rella Schafer at rellaschafer@nullgmail.com. At 25 acres in size and surrounded by private lands, the 163rd-Lane wetland is an impressive feature in this rural setting that offers unique opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography. (from Mar/April 2017 Echo newsletter, by Sue Danver)