Amon Basin

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Hands Across the Creek, just for you

Check out this You Tube video on Amon Creek

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Z-MtW5YXY

Want to know the truth about Tapteal and Amon Basin, here it is!

Amon Creek Natural Preserve Event Timeline

  • 2001-2003 Neighborhood meetings on the Amon Basin Community Project hosted by Willowbrook homeowners, Tapteal Board members in attendance, project strategy discussed. 

  • 2004 Search for acquisition properties in Amon Basin, includes three private land owners and one state agency, search for funding (discussed in Parks and Rec staff report, 2006)

  • May 2005, Tapteal applies to Energy Facility Site Evaluation Committee (EFSEC) and Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) for funding.

  • Fall 2005, Funding options and properties are aligned, discussions with Trust for Public Land (TPL) begin, Tapteal launches first door to door fundraising campaign for Amon Basin, 2000 doors.

  • Feb. 2006, Michel/Solbrack property comes to the top (staff report) Washington State Dept. of Ecology (WDOE) weighs in on WSDOT mitigation for the SR 240 causeway, mitigation has to be done before project is finished.

  • March 2006, WDOE has timeline for WSDOT funds, they have to have it spent in 4-5 months, discussions on amount of wetlands, measurements of shrub steppe value as a buffer for the wetlands vital, $300,000 at stake. 

  • May 2006, A public road across Amon Creek consistent with the Regional Transportation Plan enters the conversation. WDOE announces that the WSDOT mitigation deal is off because of the road. Months of negotiation and expenses are now put in jeopardy with the inclusion of a road through the conservation property. Also disclosed is that the current property owners do not own the mineral rights. The other two private properties in the area re-visited but rejected due to higher than appraisal costs. Inter Agency Commission (IAC) grant process goes forward for Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) property (staff report)

  • June 2006, WDOE agrees that if WSDOT can find other property to add to this project then WSDOT will be off the hook for SR 240 mitigation. TPL suggests that an option be acquired on the Michel/Solbrack property and due diligence may work out the issues. The road and bridge are still the primary issue holding up the project. The road surprise has derailed the entire project. The city needs to identify map for bridge and road, WDOE needs to re-calculate mitigation based on road/bridge and other WSDOT possible mitigation properties. WSDOT needs to procure mitigation maps for Amon Creek and possible other mitigation areas. Trust for Public Land needs to secure an option from the land owners. Tapteal initiates talks with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) about developing their access road and culvert crossing to create the west to east road that the city desires.

  • July 2006, TPL secures a four month option on Michel/Solbrack property. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), EFSEC, WSDOT, WDOE and city officials tour site. The road through the conservation property and the bridge across the creek prompt the stakeholders to look for alternate sites that might work.  Alternate site is discussed in Leslie Canyon to make up for road and bridge crossing at Amon. WDFW stresses the overall value of the entire Amon Basin for connectivity to Yakima Delta. WDFW stressed the need for a buffer of property to protect the wetlands and Amon Creek. Final prep for IAC (DNR/Claybell) grant proposal, Parks and Rec. + Tapteal. Tapteal continues the conversation with BPA about a connective road that avoids the majority of the proposed Preserve. BPA is very receptive at both regional and district levels.

  • September 2006, Leslie Canyon property removed from mitigation package due to price over appraisal. WSDOT and WDOE still searching for answers to solve the SR 240 mitigation and contributions to Amon Creek.

  • October 2006, (see PR report on Capital facilities Plan amendment) WSDOT is very near completion of SR 240 project and must find mitigation, WSDOT reduces its contribution to the project by $225,000 due to the city insistence on the road. City still insists on right of way across the proposed conservation property.

  • November 2006, Option due and short of funds because of the road requirement (see Parks and Rec. report) Tapteal launches another 2000 door to door campaign to help make up for the shortfall of $225,000.

  • December 2006, Is deadline for option and the remaining WSDOT funds. The project will default on December 22. City staff creates six options for council (see PR report). Upon advisement by TPL, City staff, I was asked to speak in support of option #2 to expedite the process, there is no more time left.  In exchange for a few more minutes at the microphone I spoke in the place of a filled room of supporters who stood up to express their physical support for the project. That is how I earned my yellow highlighter acknowledgment from Public Works. I endured 29 meetings, wrote 5 grants, survived 17 conference calls, knocked on my allotment of doors and that is only for Phase 1 of the Amon Basin Community Project. Council passed the expenditure to replace the WSDOT shortfall with details on funding the WSDOT shortfall. Noted in the motion was repayment over a five year period from future contributions to the city by various funding mechanisms…from Tapteal and others…

Days before the Council meeting when all of the options were being circulated, Tapteal submitted a letter to staff (12-15-06) outlining possible scenarios for funding mechanisms; If  “re-payment” is to be considered it should include the options for payment of in-kind donations of time and equipment, pending and future grants for acquisition, restoration, signs, trail building, monitoring to include water quality studies, plant survey, fish survey, clean ups, park partnership and off-site work that increases the value and function of the 60 acre parcel. To this date Tapteal has donated 15.53 acres valued at $385,000 in 2007 to the Amon Creek Natural Preserve, logged over 20,000 volunteer hours at ACNP (worth over $200,000 at today’s Parks Partnership volunteer rates), and invested over $60,000 in the park. I would consider that bill paid in full, with interest, and indeed worthy of yellow highlighter acknowledgment.

  • March 2007, Development of the 5 party agreement for Amon Creek and future use of real property. Several versions are considered based on City Council action in December 2006. (discussed later)

  • June 2007, Tapteal begins negotiations to purchase an additional 15.53 acres to create a connective corridor between the Phase 1 project and Claybell Park as suggested by Council at the December 19, 2006 City Council meeting.

  • July 2007, Tapteal brings on board TPL to coordinate funding options for purchasing the Phase 2 property. Tapteal works with EFSEC and WSDOT. Tapteal launches another door to door fund raising campaign for Phase 2.

  • August 2007, Tapteal makes second offer on Phase 2. Tapteal coordinates the Amon Basin Vehicle Access Control plan to reduce off road vehicle damage to city and private property at Amon Basin. Law enforcement and Fire dept. from Benton County, Richland and Kennewick participate as well as BNSF RR and KID.

  • September 2007, DNR land transfer in the Amon Basin/Claybell Park area completed.

  • October 2007, Tapteal presents update on Phase 2 to Council. Tapteal begins grant search for additional Amon Basin funding.

  • November 2007, Strategic planning for Amon Basin 2008 complete. Option agreement for purchase of Phase 2 property.

  • February 2008, Proposed Leslie Sewer line map disclosed. Phase 2 option expires, Tapteal pays extra $5,000 to extend option.

  • March 2008, Phase 2 agreement signed by WSDOT, EFSEC, Richland and Tapteal that also included a Future Use Agreement that contains “1. During its ownership, the City will not make or permit to be made any use of the Amon Creek Phase II Property or any part of it, which is inconsistent with the use of the property as a public nature preserve. In particular, the Amon Creek Phase II Property shall never be used for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.”  Phase 2 donated to City of Richland by Tapteal.

  • April 2008, Claybell Park expansion meetings.

  • June 2008, Leslie Road improvements include removing 8,635 sq. feet of the Amon Creek Natural Preserve and replacing it with a storm water drain complex.

  • March 2009, Sewer line routes and work area limits discussed, main creek route discarded.

  • October 2009, Springwater development plans for the remaining Amon Basin property are released by property owners.

  • December 2009, Tapteal begins Amon Phase 3 project to purchase remaining 119 acres in Amon Basin.

  • January 2010, Tapteal moves forward with grant searching and writing for Phase 3.

  • February 2010, Tapteal secures TPL technical support for Phase 3. Tapteal launches another fund raising campaign for Phase 3. Tapteal brings WDFW on board as a sponsor for Phase 3, focus for fundraising is acquisition funds from Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) grant office and community fund raising, no city funds.

  • May 2010, Tapteal presents Phase 3 project in preliminary grant round, scores very high.

  • August 2010, Tapteal presents Phase 3 project in Olympia to RCO board.

  • September 2010, Phase 3 project scores very high, good scores in nearly all categories except the one that considers the population base.  This population category has a 10 point value and Amon Basin gets a 3. The Phase 3 project misses the top score by 4.63 points. No surprise that the majority of the funded projects are from the west side population centers.

  • December 2010, Preparation of the Leslie Sewer line through the ACNP begins.

  • January 2011, Sewer line work limit of 20 feet is exceeded by contractor by up to 40 additional feet creating a 60+ feet work area, taking out large sections of ACNP.

  • March 2011, Informal discussion with Phase 3 property owner establishing 2014 as next Tapteal acquisition date.

  • May 2011, Sewer line mitigation project completed.  A scar can easily be seen from Google Earth.  New weeds are continuing to grow in area of disturbance in 2014.

  • August 2011, New property stakes discovered on Phase 3 property signifying sale of property to Hayden Homes.

  • November 2011, Tapteal begins preparation for discussion with Hayden Homes.

  • January 2012, Tapteal develops strategy for discussions with Hayden Homes.

  • March 2012, Tapteal makes first contact with Hayden Homes.

  • May 2013, Planning Commission recommends dropping Rachel Road from the TIP.

  • June 2013, Beer Falls plat proposed. City Council retains Rachel Road on the TIP at the advice of staff.

  • August 2013, SEPA review of Beer Falls

  • September 2013, City of Richland responds to initial Beer Falls/Clearwater Creek SEPA

  • November 2013, Clearwater Creek second plat with school revealed, Tapteal meetings with Hayden Homes resume.

  • December 2013, More Tapteal Hayden Homes meetings.

  • January 2014, Official second Clearwater Creek plat submitted, more Tapteal Hayden Homes meetings.

  • February 2014, Third version of the Clearwater Creek plat is created showing the conservation buffers to be purchased by Tapteal and the dedicated conservation area donated by Hayden Homes.

  • March 2014, after months of extensive and intensive meetings to secure a deal with Hayden Homes the City adds condition of acceptance to plat requiring a ROW through the private property dedicated conservation area of the Clearwater plat.

New Amon Basin Brochures

Want to learn more?  Please check out the new Amon Basin brochures by clicking below.

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Amon Basin Phase 3 Update 2013

DIVERSITY GIVES WAY TO DEVELOPMENT

The day we hoped would be far down the road has arrived. The remaining shrub steppe parcel in Amon Basin has been sold. The land owner has decided to go forward with development of the property and has an existing real estate contract with Hayden Homes to  build over 400 homes removing the entire shrub steppe habitat in the area.

The narrow Amon Creek Natural Preserve corridor will be surrounded by pavement and people. Will the community give their blessing to the development or will the community commit to an effort to save a portion of the last piece of wildlands we have left in the Tri Cites?

Please consider joining our effort to preserve and protect this last stand of wetland, riparian, shrub steppe in the Tri Cites area, the Central Natural Park of the Mid-Columbia. Contact us via this web site, or e mail woodfish24@charter.net or kdechter@charter.net  or call 627-3621 to join the effort. We will need your presence at commission and council meetings to let your voice be heard. We have to be ready at a moments notice to react to any agenda items related to Beer Falls and to the Rachel road extension (identified as Center Parkway on the plat map). We need your contact information to rally the troops.

We are currently developing a plan that may save a portion of the property as a buffer to the existing Phase One and Two Amon Creek Natural Preserve. We have many options on the table including our own acquisition of the buffer area. All of the options require funding for the many aspects of creating a successful project.

We encourage you to stand by us as we fight to conserve what we can. We have not given up on the concept we just have to adjust our scale. Please consider a donation and being on the call to action team to allow us to cross that goal line for Phase 3.

“Conservation is hard; you have to win every day. When the other side wins you lose that battle forever.”

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The Death of Amon Basin

Defend the defensless

Defend the defensless

Friends of Amon Basin

Want to stay connected with Amon Basin specific issues, send your contact information to our Amon Basin liaison, Kathy Dechter…kdechter@charter.net

Description

PrintThe largest tributary to the Lower Yakima River is Amon Creek. It is located in south Richland in the Meadow Springs area. Amon Creek drains the Badger Canyon area and runs through a golf course as well as several housing developments. The wetlands on the West Fork have been identified as the highest rated “value” wetlands in southeastern Washington. It is the only natural connection between the basalt ridges that border the Tri-Cites and the three rivers that join in the immediate area. It is a crucial wildlife corridor that allows for movement of large mammals as well as hundreds of birds throughout the increasingly developed area. Because of the endangered state of this urban wilderness the Tapteal Greenway is working to protect it. The connectivity to the Yakima River makes it a natural for our conservation work as well as the educational potential of the surrounding habitat. The wetlands are encircled by one of the last remaining shrub steppe parcels in the Tri-City area. Plans for this area include a muscle powered open space park with interpretive signs and educational opportunities. The vision is that of a Natural Central Park for the Mid-Columbia region, the only one of it’s kind in Eastern Washington.The land along Amon Creek is a patchwork of private, state and Federal property. Our current effort is the Amon Basin Community Project Phase 3. The goal is to secure the remaining acres in Amon Basin as a conservation easement to complete the Regional Central Park theme. The current development plan for the remaining Amon Basin acres is a 438 housing unit known as Springwater. The city of Richland is planning two roads and two bridges to service this development. The roads and the bridges will cut through the heart of the Amon Creek Natural Preserve and destroy the remaining habitat buffer that adjoins the Preserve. The targeted habitat is home to the Black-tailed jackrabbit and the American Badger; both are listed as species of concern in Washington State. Amon Creek and the Amon Basin buffer are interlocked as one habitat supporting over 100 species of birds, river otters, beavers, raptors and unique reptiles. The proposed Springwater development will devastate the Amon Basin ecosystem forever.This rare urban wilderness needs your help NOW. Development pressures on the Tri-Cities are intense. Preserving land in Amon Basin is a complex and costly effort. This will be our last chance to preserve this very unique ecosystem. Please consider giving this great gift to your community, a legacy you can be very proud of. The moment has arrived for us to take a stand, if we hesitate we will lose this ecosystem forever.
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Accomplishments

The following Phase 1 goals have been completed:

  • Purchased 60 acres of the Amon Creek corridor and established a conservation easement to protect the habitat.
  • Donated the Amon Creek purchase to the City of Richland to be established as a Natural Preserve in the city park system.

The following Phase 2 goals have been completed:

  • Expanded area near Claybell Park by 39 acres.
  • Completed Amon Creek Preserve plant survey.
  • Received volunteer activities (1000 hours from Team Battelle and contributions from Scouts).
  • Received REI grant to help offset costs of trailhead kiosks.
  • Received Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Grant for water quality sampling/education.
  • Placed access signs at two Amon Creek Preserve access points.
  • Purchase 15.5-acre connective corridor between Claybell Park and Amon Creek Preserve.
  • Develop restoration plan based on surveys of water quality, plants, fish, and wildlife.
  • Received grant for water quality sampling. 2009 Water Quality Study

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Jackrabbits disappear as Amon Basin housing development moves in, DIVERSITY GIVES WAY TO DEVELOPMENT

The day we hoped would be far down the road has parked right in front of us. The remaining shrub steppe parcel in Amon Basin has been sold to Hayden Homes.  We planned on more time to consider this issue but we do not have any more time. We have to consider it now. Steptoe is completed and serious development now faces the final remaining shrub steppe parcels. The jackrabbits of Amon Basin will become one of the street names in the new development. So, do we consider it? Can we pull this off again and save the rest of Amon Basin?  Has the community given their blessing? The city prefers that rooftops replace the sage. They prefer that a bridge cross Amon Creek at Rachel road and connect with Steptoe and all the new neighborhoods in-between. The skinny Amon Creek Natural Preserve corridor will be surrounded by pavement and people. Will the community give their blessing to the development or will the community commit to an effort to save this last piece of wildlands we have left in the Tri Cites? Please consider joining our effort to preserve and protect this last stand of wetland, riparian, shrub steppe in the Tri Cites area, the Central Natural Park of the Mid-Columbia. Contact us via this web site or call 627-3621 to join the effort.

Directions

To find this gem amid the urban sprawl, follow the directions below

  • Take US I-82 southwest towards Yakima, exit Queensgate south , turn left at second stop light (Keene Rd.), continue south east (appox. 2 miles) to light at Gage Blvd. turn left again, get in right lane, next light (Leslie), turn right and head south; you may turn left on Broadmoor and park in Claybell Park. Amon Basin will be spread out to the south where the green park grass ends with the East fork on your left and the West fork on your right; or you may continue south on Leslie for another 1/4 mile + or – turn left on Center Blvd. and follow that road to the dead end. Get out and walk down the gravel road and Amon Basin will be all that is not dozed under ( as of 10-21-05) in front of you.
  • You may also exit Hwy 240 heading south from Richland or Northwest from Kennewick/Pasco at the Wye and turn west on Columbia Park Trail, go past the motel and take a left on (approx. 1/2 mile) Leslie, continue on Leslie Rd. through the Gage intersection, turn left on Broadmoor or Center Blvd to find the Amon Basin as per above instructions

Amon Basin sunset

Amon Basin sunset

Amon Black-tailed jackrabbit

Amon Black-tailed jackrabbit