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In brief: Personal docks case overruled

Fri., May 4, 2012, midnight

The Washington state Court of Appeals Division III on Thursday overruled a Spokane County Superior Court’s decision to allow personal docks to be built along the Spokane River as part of the Coyote Rock Development in the Valley.

The Superior Court had upheld an exemption the city of Spokane Valley gave the development group to build up to 30 docks without getting permits in accordance with Washington’s Shoreline Management Act.

“Washington’s Shoreline Management Act is supposed to be read strictly in favor of protecting our shorelines, so that places like the Spokane River are protected,” Bart Mihailovich, of Spokane Riverkeeper, said in a press release. 

The Department of Ecology, among other plaintiffs attached to the case, argued that the docks would be destructive to the habitats of native species spawning in the area, yet conducive to invasive predators like the smallmouth bass and northern pike.

It was unclear Thursday evening if the Coeur d’Alene-based Neighborhood Inc., which owns Coyote Rock LLC, will appeal the court’s latest decision.

Jacob Palmer

Owlets identified as screeches

The nine baby owls that arrived at Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital a couple weeks ago – originally thought to be great horned owls – are actually of the screech variety.

The screech owl, while prominent in the Midwest and the East, is extraordinarily rare on this side of the country, according to a WSU news release.

The hospital has not seen a baby screech owl for at least a decade. Due to their unfamiliarity with this kind of bird, veterinarians reached out to owl experts across the nation for insight about what kind of owlets they had in their custody. The “keen eye” of two bird authorities located in the Midwest caused Nickol Finch, who oversees the hospital’s Raptor Rehabilitation Center, to conclude that the owlets were screeches.

Screeches are smaller than their great horned counterparts, and they camouflage themselves from humans by blending in with tree bark and nesting burrowed in tree cavities, according to zoologist Stacy Campopiano, of Canada’s Owl Foundation.

Jacob Palmer


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