Friday Harbor's Johannes Krieger is the 2013 recipient of the Good Village Steward Award.
The San Juan Islands Stewardship Network presented Krieger, owner of Crystal Seas Kayaking and a member of the county Marine Resources Committee, with its coveted annual "Finee" award July 9 for spearheading the effort to create a demonstration rain garden in the commercial core of Friday Harbor.
Installed in summer 2011, the rain garden is situated at the intersection of First and Spring streets, on the corner outside of Herb's Tavern.
“I saw this as an opportunity to get some essentially free outside money to bring jobs and work to our community during a period of time when we really needed it,” Krieger said. “Additionally, it would reduce the amount of pollutants going into our marine waters.”
Financed by a grant from the state Department of Ecology, the rain garden was designed, installed and planted through a partnership of the MRC and the Town of Friday Harbor. They hired local contractors, excavators, landscapers and engineers to turn the concept into a reality. By design, the garden is intended to help capture and filter storm water run-off before it drains into the harbor.
One rain garden at a single intersection may not cure the town of its run-off woes, but it may demonstrate whether such an approach, applied on a larger scale, can reduce the concentration of pollutants in storm water to a significant degree. The town tests water samples collected every couple of weeks to monitor the composition its storm water run-off.
The town takes seriously its responsibility to prevent storm water from polluting the harbor, town Administrator Duncan Wilson said.
“While the town operates in an urbanized environment, that is not an excuse for failure to attend to the waters and the marine life that surround us," Wilson said. “We need to find a harmonious balance between the activities of people and business, while preserving the pristine waters that make the San Juan Islands so special.”