Gopher season is back.
Today, Thurston County announced that this summer’s property review process for the Mazama Pocket Gopher will continue as normal — despite a ruling from the Growth Management Hearings Board.
From June 1 through Oct. 31, those requesting a permit or property review will get up to three site visits, each at least 30 days apart.
Last month, the Board ruled that Thurston County’s interim process violated the state’s Growth Management Act, but appeared lenient by allowing time for the county to amend the process. County Commissioners discussed the matter on Tuesday, May 31, and decided that the screening process is “consistent with the County’s Critical Areas Ordinance,” because the pocket gopher is threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
According to the county, fewer than 10 percent of screened applications had gophers present in 2015, representing less than one percent of all development applications. Pocket gophers are generally found in rural Thurston County.