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WA: Chelan hosts lake tour to address shoreline issues

By K.C. Mehaffey
Wenatchee World staff writer

Monday, April 29, 2013

CHELAN — Officials from the city of Chelan contend that their glacier-fed lake is unique, and they aim to convince federal, state and county officials at a 3-hour conference next week.

If they succeed, the city will push to bypass certain requirements of the state’s Shoreline Management Act — including the installation of large woody debris or other projects that promote algae and nutrient-building — when building docks or other shoreline development.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind treasure being largely misdirected under the Shoreline Management Act due to a lack of research into the lake’s singular environment,” Mayor Bob Goedde said in a news release.

After meeting with the state Senate’s Natural Resources and Parks committee this spring, they’ve invited state lawmakers and others on a tour of Lake Chelan on May 9 to see for themselves.

Those confirming attendance include members of the state Senate, representatives from U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert’s office, and officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and state departments of Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, and Natural Resources. Chelan County Commissioner Dale England and the county’s natural resources director Mike Kaputa will also be there.

According to the news release, Lake Chelan is one of only three “oligotrophic” lakes in North America. That means it has few nutrients and low plant growth. The other two are Crater Lake in Oregon, and Lake Tahoe in California.

Goedde contends that instead of placing root wads in the lake to create algae and provide fish habitat, or softening the steep granite shoreline with plants and riparian areas, Lake Chelan should be working to maintain its naturally clear, nutrient-free qualities.

“We’re too small a jurisdiction to spend any more money fighting the Army Corps of Engineers and state agencies,” Chelan City Council member Wendy Isenhart said in the release. “But we’re flat not going to pass any regulations that we can’t, ourselves, understand or explain to our citizens.”

Officials will meet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 9, beginning with a one-hour session at the city hall council chambers, a one-hour tour of the Wapato Basin on the Lady Express, and a one-hour lunch and discussion back at city hall.

“We’re hoping that getting to know each other better and understanding each point of view will lead to a powerful collaboration that benefits all, and most importantly, Lake Chelan,” the meeting agenda states.

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