Representatives from San Juan County’s Marine Resource Committee (MRC) and the County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship joined Rep. RIck Larsen (WA-02) at False Bay Wednesday afternoon to discuss federal funding of marine resources efforts. In 2023, the MRC is expected to receive an additional $200,000 from congress to address long-anticipated projects like removing creosote pilings and derelict vessels. The Marine Program receives federal funding in support of a combination of programs and projects.
In 2022 the MRC received $37,000 in federal funds to support the operations and projects of the MRC while the Local Integrating Organization is fully supported through federal NEP funds to the tune of $125,000, and in addition also received $100,000 in project funds that is allowing a county wide assessment of creosote infrastructure to be completed.
“We really appreciate the opportunity to share how grateful we are for the federal funding that the MRC receives,” said Frances Robertson, the County’s Marine Program Manager. “We couldn’t do this important work without the programmatic grants.”
Creosote pilings eventually break up and distribute chemicals and debris into the Puget Sound. These chemicals can be harmful and even toxic to marine species. That’s why the MRC has its sights set on Jackson Beach.
“We’ve received $100,000 from the National Estuary Program to conduct an assessment of creosote pilings,” said Kendra Smith, the County’s Environmental Stewardship Director. “The ones at Jackson Beach are right next to an eelgrass bed that is important to protect.”
“It was great to see the important work the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee and the UW Friday Harbor Labs are doing to monitor and conserve marine wildlife habitat in False Bay,” said Larsen. “I will continue to support legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act that invests in local initiatives to protect the San Juans and Salish Sea for future generations.”
While standing along the shoulder of False Bay Road, Smith also discussed the future of managed retreat.
“This road we’re standing on will one day need to be relocated,” Smith explained. “It’s dangerously close to the shoreline and needs to be moved so that the bank can continue to erode naturally and safely.”
Rep. Larsen made is way to the County Fairgrounds for opening day of the fair. Parks and Fair Director Brandon Cadwell led a tour through the 4-H barns, exhibitor booths, and Green Village while discussing sustainability.
“The fairgrounds just completed the largest solar project in the county,” Cadwell said pointing to the massive solar array atop the main exhibitors building. “These panels are projected to produce over 4.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy and save the county over $700,000 in utility costs.”
Rep. Larsen toured the Green Village at the fair – a collection of environmental groups including the San Juan County Conservation Land Bank, the MRC, the County’s Noxious Weed Program, and more. Attendees can participate in events at the Green Village throughout the fair to learn about the different programs and volunteer opportunities.
“No summer would be complete without a visit to the San Juan County Fair,” added Larsen. “For more than 100 years, the Fair has showcased the farms, agriculture, small businesses and conservation efforts that make the San Juans a unique place to live, work and enjoy.”
- Leadership San Juan Islands is part of the 2022 SJICF Fair Fundraiser
- “Grow the Good!” with San Juan Island Prevention Coalition Volunteers!
- August 17-20: Quilting Guild raising funds for Comfort Quilts through Community Foundation
- San Juan Island Women's Fund awarded $304K to local nonprofits since 2003
- Help Support our Local Students as They Head Back to School