Amon Creek Natural Preserve

Amon Creek needs your help!

Read More about the RACHEL ROAD ALIGNMENT STUDY

Want your heart to soar like a hawk…join this flight over Amon.

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.

Amon Basin Phase 3 Update 2015

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?

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. See the buffer page for more information.

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.”

Amon Creek Natural Preserve Event Timeline


2001-May 2006

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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)


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)


May 2006-Dec 2006

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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, Tapteal is asked to accept option two. 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…


2007

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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.


2008

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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.


2009

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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.


2010

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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.


2011

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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.


2012

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January 2012,

Tapteal develops strategy for discussions with Hayden Homes.


March 2012,

Tapteal makes first contact with Hayden Homes.


2013

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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.


2014

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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.


December 2014,

WSDOT finds that the City did not get permission to build the sewer line through the mitigation property at ACNP. Public Works had stated to City Council that they had permission from EFSEC and WSDOT. The City will have to come up with a mitigation plan to satisfy WSDOT.


2015

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January 2015,

The development of the proposed Amon Basin Community Project Phase 3 property is underway. Hayden Homes presses forward with Clearwater Creek.


March 2015,

It was disclosed that the City tried to buy the land to be set aside by Hayden Homes as a conservation donation to Tapteal.


June 2015,

City Council passes the TIP plan with Rachel road included in the projects.


August 2015,

City contracts for mitigation of the sewer line in ACNP that was built without WSDOT approval, Approx. $125,000.