We were informed today, July 8, 2010, of a permit application submitted by S&ME, Inc., for the City of Kingsport for the proposed aquatics center and YMCA development at Meadowview Marsh at Reservoir Road and Wilcox Road in Kingsport. It is a nesting site for the Virginia Rail and one of the best aquatic habitats in the Kingsport area and the region. The application states that they will be filling 18.7 acres of the 21.6 acres wetland on site. Both ponds are to be filled for parking areas. The attached file meadowview marsh map.pdf shows the proposed wetlands impact of the development. Below is an air photo of the site. The Bristol Bird Club made a successful stand to save part of the marsh in late 1992. We appeared with other interested birders, provided an attorney and went before a city planning leader at a hearing to present our concerns. We were joined by the Watauga Audubon Society and the Tennessee Ornithological Society. Area bird clubs were more focused on conservation in the 1990s. Many of our birders now have different agendas. About 1984, it was designated as a very special birding and refuge area. Local area conservationists and community leaders called it a shinning example of cooperation among industry, conservationists, and community. Eastman provided the use of the land and materials and a fence. Audubon built and maintained a trail, scout groups did service projects, and hundreds of people enjoyed it. There was a neat refuge sign and a box that provided a nice folder being distributed to visitors. The words "Tennessee Ornithological Society" appeared on the sign. Naturally wet, it was made wetter. Three man-made pits were allowed to fill with water to become a pond ecosystems. They will now be filled to provide parking lots for the new project. It became an important stopover for at least 10 migratory species -- Least Bittern, Blue-winged Teal, American Bittern, American Woodcock, Common Snipe, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Sora, Swamp Sparrow and the Northern Waterthrush. It was once the only known nesting site in the state for the Virginia Rail (that has changed). It is a neat flight area for breeding woodcocks. You could enjoy seeing gentians, musk mallows, monkey flowers, and a whole community of plants unusual for Eastern Tennessee. When the Kingsport Convention Center and the city began to make plans to move Reservoir Road, they were planning to put the road just 50 feet from pond number 2. Part of the marsh was expected to be chopped off. It was then believed by Audubon that growing development pressure to fill the whole thing in to create prime real estate was going to someday happen. Someday has happened. The plans for prime real estate now call for filling the whole thing in. An effort to convince the mayor, aldermen, and Planning and Zoning people was made in November 1992. It was successful. The road was relocated to save Meadowview Marsh and leave it as it was. The Eastman Chemical Company placed a newspaper advertisement in each of the Tri-Cities three newspapers and it covered about half a page. They supported our cause to save Meadowview Marsh for the birds. Meadowview Marsh was for the birds when we were one and had a loud and single voice. It was before personality, jealousy and territorial bickering began to silence, divide and isolate communication and communities among birders and naturalists. And special creatures are losing a place to inhabit and breed. Are we leaving and not looking back ? Do we know what is being lost ? Do we care ?