People, wildlife will benefit from parks-code updates | Letter

Eastside Audubon Society is pleased to hear that the Redmond City Council voted on new updates to Redmond’s parks code. These changes will make the city’s parks safer and more enjoyable for both the people and wildlife of Redmond. As an organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems of our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people, we want parks that benefit all of Redmond’s residents.

Although Eastside Audubon supports all of the changes to the current code, we are particularly gladdened to see that the parks will be drone-free. We have received and seen undocumented reports, locally and from across the country, in which drones have been used to harass wildlife. This use seems most problematic around nesting birds, as drones are used to gain camera access to eggs and chicks. With this change to the code, we know this will not be a problem at parklands in at least one Eastside city.

We encourage anyone who has obtained a drone during this holiday season to use it responsibly, avoiding wildlife and sensitive habitat areas. Information about the rules for drone use can be found at knowbeforeyoufly.org. Harassment of most bird species is illegal under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Consequences for inappropriate drone use can be severe.

Additionally, Eastside Audubon specifically supports changes to the code for enforcement of dog leash laws, prohibitions on feeding of wildlife, and consequences for harming of wildlife. As the city continues to lose greenspace to development, parks become increasingly important as habitat for resident birds, as well as for stopover points during migration. Thus, it is imperative that these areas provide space that is safe from humans and their pets that may unintentionally, or intentionally, lead to harm.

Jan McGruder, president

Eastside Audubon Society

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