Journal of the San Juan Islands


Public pressure could curb runoff | Letters

December 20, 2012 · Updated 11:56 AM

An open letter to business owners and service clubs of Friday Harbor:

Have you noticed at the new hospital site, that where there is a drainage ditch, there are cylinders of straw-looking material?

They look like small rolled–up carpets. They are there to filter out silt and fragments of building materials. They also slow erosion.

Have you noticed that there were none of these things at the pipeline construction site just finished on Spring Street? (But it’s not finished. Apparently it has to be reworked in the spring).

Without the straw filters, large quantities of silt, asphalt pieces, oil, and other toxins will again be going into the waters of Friday Harbor.

In recent past, a ditch project on Front Street also took place without these protections. This runoff is toxic.

For years I have been asking the Town of Friday Harbor to take ordinary precautions with stormwater, like those seen at the hospital site, to protect nearshore animals and plants. I have had poor (as in no) luck.

I visualize myself as a gnat, buzzing in the face of town officials — annoying them, but having little effect. This is a source of frustration that I hope you can help with.

The Town Council respects and listens to the business and service communities. With enough pressure from community leaders, we can begin taking proper care of our nearshore waters.

The waters of Friday Harbor used to be productive and healthy. With your help, they can be again.

San Juan Island is my home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I have lived here and worked on local marine biology issues for over 20 years.

We do a lot of things right. It saddens me to walk downtown and see muck going into the harbor.

It’s like we don’t know how to clean up after ourselves.

Mike Kaill/Friday Harbor


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