We have great confidence in the experience and judgment of the people who have lived in the Martin Road area for a long time and have intimate familiarity with your project area. These people include Howard Stafford who has lived his entire life here, as well as Lee and Lisa Fenley and Denton and Jessica Moore. Indeed, we trust the perspectives and judgments of these people much more than any study you’ve done thus far, because these people have lived on the land over many years and have witnessed the changing conditions of the rivers and sloughs and the behavior of water in the area.
May we strongly recommend that your research relative to any aggressive modification of the flow of the Skagit include the input and judgment of people like these neighbors. What you can know about this land from efforts like aerial observations should be enhanced by the real experience of these people living on the land. When someone like Howard Stafford stands up in a public meeting regarding your study and tells you of his experience and observations regarding the presence of water is crucial, real information. When Mr. Stafford tells us of his concerns and expectations associated with a rerouting of significant flow from the Skagit, we trust him. Our confidence in your plan will be substantially determined by the confidence of these knowledgeable neighbors.
We think it’s past time for you to meet with these people and visit the land with them. Their views are empirically valid and should be as much of a part of your research as the other analysis you have done and will do.