What's unique about Amon Preserve? For starters, it boasts two of the top four habitats identified in Washington's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy as the highest priority for conservation in the Columbia plateau. It's also home to jack rabbits and badgers, both ranked as species of greatest conservation need in the Columbia Plateau. Further, it's the only site in the Tri-Cities combining top-rated wetland, riparian, and shrub-steppe habitat in an urban setting.
Amon is protected by Richland's Comprehensive Plan promoting preservation of open space. So we citizens thought we were safe to invest thousands of hours and dollars to purchase and protect Amon. But we weren't.
Extending Rachel Road through the preserve will devastate it. Imagine road kill smeared over a 70-foot wide road. And for what? To duplicate existing access to the mall?
Why is Richland doing this? Because it's in the Transportation Improvement Plan. Plans are often changed to suit developers. Why not change this plan to suit citizens and taxpayers?
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Let's find a solution to meet needs of all stakeholders, including 4-legged ones.
I urge Richland to bring in its best and brightest to craft a better way out of this -- before it's too late and Amon Preserve is gone forever.
KATHY DECHTER, Richland