Critical areas team expands

The cast and crew of Island County’s critical areas update grew this week as three biologists were hired to conduct peer reviews.

At Monday’s Board of Island County Commissioners’ meeting, Assistant Planning Director Jeff Tate announced that the scientists would be assisting with the update.

“We are currently assembling two different peer review panels that will be reviewing all the work that we do,” he told the commissioners.

The county is examining several areas listed as critical to the preservation of Island County’s environment. Numerous studies and evaluations of policies will be conducted before the update is complete.

The panels will review work done along the way to ensure the final product is as complete and accurate as possible, Tate said.

The panel that was announced Monday includes Teresa Lewis, a biologist for Pierce County, Teresa Vanderburg, a biologist with Adolfson Associates, Inc. in Seattle and Margaret Clancy, a biologist with Bellevue-based Parametrix, Inc.

The total cost for the three scientists will not exceed $5,000 each, according to their contracts. All three are technically subcontractors for Dearborn and Moss, PLLC, which is the county’s legal consultant for the update process.

Tate said that the county has used consultants from Adolfson in the past and Parametrix comes highly recommended.

The second review panel is made up of representatives from four different state agencies. The Department of Ecology, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Natural Resources and the Community Trade and Economic Development Council will each have a member.

“We’re trying to include them at every step of the way,” Tate said.

In addition to the most recent additions, the lead wetlands scientist, Oregon-based Paul Adamus, will be present today at a community forum from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Bayview Cash Store on South Whidbey. He will be addressing the work he will be performing in the county later this summer.

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