Submitted by SJIs Conservation District
In furthering the work towards protecting island natural resources, the San Juan Islands Conservation District has received a grant from the Washington State Department of Health to improve water quality within shellfish growing areas. The grant, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary program, strategically targets shellfish habitat through the efforts of water quality monitoring and implementing livestock best management practices upstream. Six watersheds in San Juan County have been identified as priorities for improvements based on recent water quality sampling results and connection to bays with commercial or recreational shellfish production: Upright Channel: Freshwater inputs from both Shaw and Lopez Islands. Westcott/Garrison: Garrison Creek and its tributaries on San Juan Island. Eastsound: Efforts will focus on inputs to Judd Cove on Orcas Island. Buck Bay: Cascade Creek and Buck Creek on Orcas Island. False Bay: False Bay Creek and San Juan Valley Creek on San Juan Island. Lopez Sound: Efforts will focus on any of the drainages into Lopez Sound.
Through the grant, the conservation district will provide technical assistance, workshops, educational events and cost-share funding opportunities with agricultural landowners to implement best management practices. Using continued water quality monitoring data, the goal is to have a 50 percent reduction in bacteria loading in these watersheds that feed into commercial and recreational shellfish harvest areas. If you own livestock within any of these watersheds and are interested in benefiting, call 360-378-6621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Juan Islands Conservation District Board and staff welcome new team members to help guide the local conservation and agricultural stewardship efforts.
Mike Ramsey is the new executive director of the conservation district. Ramsey takes over for Linda Lyshall, who helped build the district program and oversaw staff for the past five years. Ramsey worked for the state of Washington’s Recreation and Conservation Office for the past 18 years, as a grants manager for salmon and Puget Sound recovery projects.
In May, two longtime conservation district members, Ron Zee and Henning Sehmsdorf have stepped down from the board of supervisors. Both members have dedicated many years of service and expertise to the district. These positions have been filled by Deanna Eltinge from San Juan Island, who has a bachelor of science degree in natural resources management and David Bill of Lopez Island who owns and manages Midnight’s Farm.