Read more: http://theworldlink.com/news/opinion/mailbag/marsh-expansion-brings-benefits/article_d3bfaf3f-5223-51a1-979f-7cad9d821971.html#ixzz1tD3lsr48
Sorry I didn't get back to you right away; just checked my email a few moments ago. I don't know the particulars re: the NYC Catskill Watershed project, but on the face of it it's a proposterous comparison. Yes, watersheds and freshwater/salt marshes are known to remove minerals, organic molecules and certain bacteria that in concentrations of concern would make water unfit for human consumption. But no one is proposing to drink from the Coquille River, and as far as I know there are no minerals/compounds that are currently at levels of concern in the Coquille (and this includes pesticides and herbicides) that would harm fish and wildlife. The coloform levels may be high, but that may not be due to human septic systems or livestock, which means you could do the marsh restoration and the coloform count might not change and would likely go up because of the increased numbers of rodents, beavers,
mustelids.... that would be crapping in the water.
Her argument about off-channel refuges for fish could be accomplished w/o converting the entire lower valley (i.e. just make a few such areas at strategic points along the river). Again, salmon production could be increased an order of magnitude just by using hatchboxes and killing Double-crested Cormorants (Note: I counted 150+ in a tidal eddy on the Coquille R. near the confluence of Seven Mile Cr. just Wednesday. When the smolts start to run over the next couple of weeks these birds will decimate their numbers.). And by the way if the converted land is contributing $6,000/acre/yr in "services", then shouldn't the land owners be offered at least $12,000/acre for their places instead of <$1,000/acre? Of course this will never happen because the very agencies/enviro groups so eager to purchase these farms are the very same ones that have promulgated so many rules and regulations on these folks the land is now next to worthless for agriculture which will be reflected in the buyer's offer.
The last piece of bullshit in this letter was the claim that birders and other ecotourists will bring in big bucks to the area. This is such hogwash it's hardly worth addressing.
Hope this will be of some help,