Thursday, August 18, 2011

How much is enough?

For those who think Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park can afford to have more pieces whittled away by ill-conceived development, the two maps to the left might be instructional.

The upper map is an excerpt showing the topography of Kah Tai from a US Coast Survey map prepared in 1856. Port Townsend was still Port Townshend but well on her way to losing the 'H'. In fact, the full 1856 map has a hand-written notation pointing at the 'H' in the legend and indicating that it would be removed as an official directive. Although the map has suffered the wear and tear of a century and a half, it is clear that in 1856, Kah Tai was a fully tidal estuarine marsh open to Port Towns(h)end Bay.

The lower map is 1.5 centuries newer, and is a section from Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Geologic Map GM-57 (Schasse and Slaughter, 2005), available online. All that light brown area labeled Qml? That is defined as "modified land - soil, sediment, or other geologic material locally reworked by excavation and (or) redistribution to modify topography". In the case of Kah Tai, the 'local reworking' was 231,000 cubic yards of dredge spoil dumped in 1964 to create the Boat Haven.

Hasn't the Port of Port Townsend benefited quite enough from the 'reworking' of Kah Tai?