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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

November 24, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Keeping the Samish River watershed clean vital to environmental health

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Washington State University’s Skagit County Extension Beach Watchers are spreading the word to recreationalists about portable toilet and pet waste station locations in the Samish River watershed.

“This is an important environmental health issue and we can’t make a difference if people don’t know about the facilities available to them” said Chris Brown, the Beach Watcher volunteer leading this effort.

In partnership with the Skagit Conservation Education Alliance, who leads the placement and mapping of the portable toilet stations, Beach Watcher volunteers have begun to contact recreation groups and local businesses to distribute brochures and information about the Clean Samish Initiative.

The portable toilets are made available by Skagit County and the Washington State Department of Ecology to fulfill the mission of the Initiative in achieving both short and long-term pollution reductions in the Samish watershed. Initiative partners are using a variety of monitoring, education, and enforcement efforts to reduce fecal coliform levels.

“The local community and partners have really stepped up to address this issue together” said Emma Whitfield, Skagit County Public Information Officer. “The health of the Samish River watershed is of great importance to our local economy, environment, and quality of life.”

The Samish Basin is a popular year-round recreation destination for anglers, hunters, bicyclists, kite boarders, birders, hikers, and runners.

There are currently 16 pet waste stations and 13 portable toilets located throughout the watershed. A map with their specific locations and more information is provided on the Skagit County website here.

For more information about the WSU Skagit County Extension Beach Watchers program, call Lynne Jordan, Beach Watchers Coordinator at 360-428-4270 ext. 223 or at ljordan@co.skagit.wa.us.

(Photo by Mike Siegel, Seattle Times staff photographer)

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