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Monmouth Wetlands Id Project Complete

MONMOUTH -- Last year, builders in a south Monmouth industrial subdivision were forced to halt construction because of a chance discovery of wetlands.

MONMOUTH -- Last year, builders in a south Monmouth industrial subdivision were forced to halt construction because of a chance discovery of wetlands.

Among those developers were the city of Monmouth, which received a "cease and desist" order to stop work on a $4 million electric substation.

"It was a real economic challenge," said Dave Wildman, Monmouth Power & Light superintendent, noting ensuing mitigation delayed construction by 14 months and raised the cost of the project by $175,000.

To save themselves and others future headaches, town leaders inventoried last summer probable sites of wetlands within the town's 2,020 acres.

A draft of the study by Zion Natural Resources Consulting was completed last month, and is now waiting to pass muster with the Oregon Department of Lands.

"We did this so we know what we and our development community will know what we're dealing with," said City Manager Scott McClure.

"We don't want somebody investing a bunch of money, start construction and then have to shut down."

City Planner Mark Fancey said the report and its maps will be made available to developers in the future. It will be up to those builders to perform a delineation before moving forward with their project.

Monmouth's report cost $20,000 and involved mapping, field observations and soil sampling of public and private property.

The results? There were a modest number of sites in north Monmouth that could be considered wetlands, with most concentrated around the North and Middle Forks of Ash Creek.

There are also wetlands in portions of potentially developable property in Edwards Edition and 33 acres that sits off south Riddell Road.

The biggest surprise was a discovery in Madrona Park, a 4.5 acre parcel off Madrona Street that sits in the middle of a subdivision.

The park's large, bowl-shaped field is a water detention area that links to Ash Creek's South Fork via storm water sewers.

Hydric soils in the park -- built in the late 1990s as part of its surrounding subdivision -- indicate there are and have historically been wetlands on site.

As such, the city will be doing another delineation. That means work on a planned arboretum and walking trail in Madrona will have to wait.

"We were actually ready to sign a contract for the design," McClure said.

The city will be making the report available on its Web site and to developers in the future.

For more information: Mark Fancey, 503-837-0722.

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