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Assembly votes in favor of wetlands plan rewrite

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: John Thain - 5:12 PM July 8, 2014

Wetlands in the Anchorage Bowl are disappearing fast.

Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly voted in favor of rewriting the plan that protects them.

The unanimous vote was postponed several times while the Assembly and local community councils worked to understand what proposed revisions would mean for conservation.

Some of the new wording has been controversial, conservationists say, because it can be left open to interpretation.

One example: Mosquito Lake, designated as a Class A wetland. While the rewritten plan says Class A wetlands must be preserved “to the maximum extent possible,” Assembly members voted 9-2 to grant special protections to the East Anchorage wetland. Tuesday’s amendment states Mosquito Lake must be “preserved without disturbance.”

Wetlands development is inevitable, according to Assemblyman Ernie Hall, partly because of the housing shortage in Anchorage.

He’s says he’s confident in the decision to rewrite the wetlands management plan and says the Assembly’s goal is to build with the least impact possible.

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