Letters to the Editor

Preserve funding for MRC coordinator, Lead Entity coordinator

An open letter to the San Juan County Council

The presentations by the MRC coordinator and the Lead Entity coordinator at a recent County Council meeting clearly demonstrate the vital importance of these two programs to all San Juan residents as well as most visitors to these islands.

I was delighted to hear Kevin Ranker's announcement that funding would remain available for the two programs for the coming year. What lies beyond that is yet to be resolved. It is imperative, however, that the council do all in its power to continue to support these two programs. The benefits, not only to salmon, but to the entire ecosystem, including us humans, are incalcuable.

In 1999, I was hired by the San Juan Conservation District to prepare an application to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for WRIA2 to become a Lead Entity in the statewide salmon recovery program. The application was accepted and I subsequently became the first Lead Entity coordinator, a position I held until the San Juan County Commission took over the Lead Entity program from the district and my position with the district was terminated.

The county was most fortunate in selecting Ms. Barbara Rosenkotter as Lead Entity coordinator and she has done an outstanding job in that position. As a fisheries biologist, who has worked with salmon resources from Bristol Bay to Northern California, I can attest to the value of this program — a value that doesn't stop with just recovering salmon populations but embraces the entire marine and freshwater ecosystems vital not only to salmon but to many, many other creatures as well. Yes, including us!

I realize that budgets are tight and funding is scarce, but these programs address basic environmental needs that touch all of us. Please continue to do all you can to support the MRC and Lead Entity here in San Juan County.

David T. Hoopes, Ph.D.
San Juan Island

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