In 2007 the King County Council enacted a new Flood Control District funded through property taxes. The District’s mission is to design and build projects that will protect the County’s residents and businesses from the impacts of flooding. Between 2007-2014, Margaret facilitated the flood control advisory committee composed of elected officials from both cities and unincorporated areas. Many of the committee’s issues were high contentious, most notably the allocation of taxes and benefits, preferred approaches to flood control, and the interrelationships between habitat restoration and flood protection. Margaret worked with County staff to develop the committee process, set its agendas, and guide the group through difficult discussions and decisions.
The Willowmoor Transition Zone straddles a portion of the Sammamish River near Marymoor Park. In the 1960s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a weir in this area to control for flooding. King County’s Flood Control District hopes to make it easier to maintain the area and also improve habitat function. Margaret facilitated the Willowmoor Stakeholder Advisory Committee from 2013-105. The committee helped to create design objectives and criteria, assisted with the evaluation of various project alternatives, and shaped the development of a final preferred alternative that will be moved forward for design and construction.
This has been a contentious area of concern, particularly over the past decade. Property owners are worried about rising lake levels, the City of Redmond is concerned about possible flooding, park users want to be able to access the area, and environmentalists are hoping to restore fish habitats in this crucial area of passage for salmon and other species. The Stakeholder Advisory Committee was instrumental in achieving the level of consensus and support that will be needed in order to move forward with improvements.
In 2010, Kitsap County began work on an update to its Shoreline Master Program (SMP) that provides shoreline protection and land use guidance for residents and businesses. SMPs can be a difficult process, particularly in light of citizens’ concerns about private property rights. Margaret facilitated a Task Force of citizen representatives charged with recommending policies for the Update. Over a year, the Task Force reviewed and made recommendations on shoreline goals, public access, and various environmental designations.
Margaret’s neutral facilitation skills ensured that all parties were able to contribute to the discussion and substantively influence the development of the SMP. The Task Force was instrumental in helping the County create an effective, publically supported SMP that balances environmental protection with the rights of property owners. In approving the SMP, the Washington State Department of Ecology highlighted the Task Force as a key component of the project’s overall success.
In the late 1990s, environmental groups and tribal interests sued the City of Everett over its proposal to install recreational facilities within the 1,065-acre Everett Marshland. As part of its settlement agreement, the City developed a new Subarea Plan for the Marshland that focused on the creation of salmon and wildlife habitat, while also balancing aricultural, flood protection, utility and other existing land uses. Margaret facilitated a stakeholder committee of environmental interests, major utilities, private landowners, state and local agencies, and the Tulalip Tribe. She helped the group work through historical tensions, collaborate on potential solutions, and eventually reach broad support on a preferred alternative for the Subarea Plan.