Puget Sound Newswatch
Seattle Journal -- Watershed's End Run Worked
Watershed's end run worked: Sometimes it really does take an Act of Congress to get things done. The fruits of one of the last bills signed by George Bush while he was president came before a City Council committee yesterday. And Jane Noland's utilities committee readily approved a land swap with the Forest Service that - a year or so from now - will give Seattle ownership of all the land in its Cedar River Watershed.
The land swap has been more than 30 years in the making. In fact, Seattle, with Forest Service approval, acquired most of the land for the exchange in the 1960s, said Suzanne Flagor, director of the watershed and environmental services for the Water Department.
But the proposed land swap was entangled in the fight over preserving old-growth timber - Seattle wanted to save what was in the watershed and the Forest Service wanted to log it before trading its land away. The city went to Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, for help in bypassing the federal bureaucracy.
McDermott's bill was the last one out of Congress in the fall of 1992 and nearly the last law former president signed, said Flagor.
Seattle now is ready to exchange 17,600 acres in 84 parcels of timber and rangeland it purchased in nine Washington counties and four national forests for 17,000 acres the Forest Service still owns inside the watershed.
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