All’s well that ends well | Editorial

Plenty of phrases would fit this development to a tee: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure might be the best.

After three years up on the shelf, San Juan County’s derelict vessel removal program is back on the water. The county revived the program by signing a contract last week with locally based A-1 Marine/Vessel Assist.

It’s about time.

Made up mostly of water, San Juan County has one of the worst derelict vessel problems in the state. Loaded with fuel, oil and other toxins, derelict vessels pose a tremendous environmental threat.

But even though the state Department of Natural Resources now reimburses up to 90 percent of removal and disposal costs, the county lacked the resources to maintain the program.

That’s when the Friday Harbor Power Squadron stepped up to the plate, recruited like-minded individuals, businesses and civic groups, and came up with the $5,000 in seed money needed to restore the program. The county matched that amount.

In addition to the Power Squadron, the Common Sense Alliance, Roche Harbor Resort, San Juan Island Yacht Club, Island Marine Center (Lopez) and Jensen’s Shipyard, and the county Marine Resources Committee deserve our thanks.

The program will be administered by Joanruth Bauman, a former county employee who earned DNR’s trust while operating the program for Public Works. She’ll tag vessels for potential removal and notify A-1/Vessel Assist if push comes to shove. There are 19 abandoned vessels around the islands that reportedly are in need of attention. Perhaps now they’ll get the attention they deserve.

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