Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vaughn Bay Tidelands Open!

In case you missed the recent coverage regarding Vaughn Bay on “Pierce County News”, this link (http://www.piercecountytv.org/pcn ) will take you to it. At the 2.58 minute mark you will be able to hear more details about the “great news” regarding the re-opening of a significant amount of Vaughn Bay to shellfish harvesting following a thirty year closer. This success is due to Pierce County Shellfish Partners efforts to restore water quality.

Pierce County Public Works and Utilities, Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department and Pierce Conservation District initiated the development of Shellfish Partners in 2005 with the goal of healthy tidelands. That goal includes the prevention of shellfish bed closures, due to poor water quality, and ensuring that all shellfish harvested in Pierce County are safe to eat. “Safe to eat” ultimately means water clean enough for fishing and swimming. Big goals. As shown by the improvements at Vaughn Bay, big goals are achievable.

Pierce County Shellfish Partners is now comprised of eight public, private and nonprofit organizations. Through their collective efforts the following actions are bringing about change; stormwater inspections, water quality sampling, public education, Best Management Practices (BMP) in farming, drainage improvements, identification of failing septic systems, the septic repair grant and loan program (grant funded by the Department of Ecology) and more.

So, after those thirty years of closure due to polluted waters, between the years 2008 and 2011 there have been over one hundred and fifty acres of tidelands restored in Vaughn Bay, with the last fifty being giving the green light by the Washington State Department of Health in June. Now that’s something to write home about! Congratulations to all who, in one way or another, support the continuing efforts of restoring healthy waters to Pierce County tidelands and beyond.

Your KGI Watershed Council Executive Committee