Thanks to Marty Giles and The World for describing the many values of wetlands in the article, “Wetland species adapt to periodic drowning." As Marty notes, “wetlands perform many functions vital to people.” This includes filtering water, absorbing floodwaters that would otherwise damage homes and businesses, and providing vital habitat for native salmon and steelhead we all want to recover.
We at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe that together we can maintain the many values of wetlands, which is the goal of improvements we recommended in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program. The World in October was highly critical of those improvements, but they would simply protect the natural values of wetlands and floodplains that, as Marty wrote, also support many human values.
Development in downtown Coos Bay could continue under our recommendations, while new development of wetlands would need only be offset by restoration of equivalent wetlands somewhere else. It’s clear, it’s simple, and it provides one path forward to protect the community and environmental values that Oregonians hold dear.
Assistance Regional Administrator, NOAA fisheries