Protecting our endangered species requires a balance that includes the needs of all the people of Marin County, and not just the private interests of a few hundred property owners.

It must balance the advice of the hundreds of scientists that Marin’s endangered salmon need stronger protections. A “balance” that the science says will drive our salmon to extinction is no balance at all.

With all due respect to David Zaltsman, coho stream protections would affect fewer than a thousand properties, and many owners want to see streams protected. Compared to the quarter million people who call Marin home, a few hundred is indeed only a handful.

Also, the courts struck down the county’s development approvals, saying the county “should not be permitted to evade standards governing (environmental review)” with “unauthorized environmental evaluation.”

That sounds illegal to me.

Strong Marin environmental values protected the natural beauty that I grew up in, and those values are still strong today. According to NOAA Fisheries, development is the No. 1 threat to Marin’s coho.

I believe Marin values will triumph and achieve a few simple science-based, common sense protections. Don’t cut down streamside vegetation. Keep buildings and paving away from streams. The supervisors say they agree, but they must prove it with actions.

Unless the people and voters of Marin act now, the last of the coho will vanish. We will have failed to protect the natural beauty of Marin the way it was protected for us.

We must demand action:

— Doug Karpa, Legal Program Director, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Forest Knolls