Fennel Creek team joins National Wildlife Federation

Marian Betzer discusses the Fennel Creek Habitat Team with members of a tour of county restoration projects.

A standing Bonney Lake nature preservation group has just become official.

The Fennel Creek Preservation Group joined the National Wildlife Federation earlier this summer, rechristening itself the Fennel Creek Habitat Team.

The group seeks to preserve the Fennel Creek watershed. Fennel Creek is the largest of eight tributaries in the mid-Puyallup River Basin and home to the Victor Falls; the watershed also covers the majority of one of the fastest growing cities in western Washington.

“If we don’t preserve our natural habitats for the next generation, we’re not going to have any left,” Habitat Steward Marian Betzer said. “You can’t have (fresh air and water) in a place that’s been really drastically developed. At the same time, we understand the importance of development. It’s a complicated discussion, and you have to find the right balance.”

Betzer and her husband were founding members of the informal Fennel Creek Preservation Group, after moving to the area in 2002 and learning more about the changing natural landscape. Two years later, they were invited to join an advisory committee on the creek. They soon after issued a survey asking city residents what they thought about development and its effects on the watershed. According to Betzer, 98 percent of more than a hundred respondents were in favor of preserving the creek watershed in some capacity. About 30 citizens expressed an interest in learning more, leading to the formation of the original preservation group.

“After 10 years, we’ve had small successes … but we really needed some rejuvenation,” Betzer said.

Affiliation with the Certified Wildlife Habitat program funds the team for community education and employment of sustainable gardening practices. The Federation also provides access to Habitat Steward training workshops and registration of properties as certified wildlife habitats.

The group has already raised its public profile. Members wearing their team t-shirts have made appearances at public meetings and the group had an information booth at Bonney Lake Days, with presentations and educational children’s activities. On Thursday, the Betzers and some other habitat team members attended a tour of county projects to restore salmon populations, one of which was a project to remove berms on the west side of the Fennel Creek.

Further information about the Fennel Creek Habitat Team can be obtained by contacting record keeper Sheri Dotson Parker at sharsparrs@gmail.com.