Ashland takes up stream protection

Ashland's City Council tonight considers a stream and wetland protection ordinance that could affect about 1,800 properties in town.

The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St. The meeting is open to the public.

Ashland has more than 20 streams, with only six protected by floodplain rules. A draft Water Resources Map identifies 14 significant wetlands and about 30 possible wetlands, according to a city staff report to the council.

The new ordinance would expand stream buffer zones, which now range from 10 to 20 feet based on the size of the stream, to 30 to 50 feet.

In 2001, the City Council identified the protection of streams and wetlands as a goal. The state also requires cities to inventory significant wetlands and riparian corridors. Cities must examine their local ordinances and update them if necessary to protect the wetlands and riparian corridors.

Activities that would be banned within the buffer zone include removing a native tree that is six inches in diameter at chest height or larger and removing vegetation unless it is non-native, noxious or invasive or poses a wildfire risk.

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