More than $7.2 million in National Estuary Program (NEP) funds are supporting pollution identification and correction (PIC) programs in Puget Sound. PIC programs are identified in the Puget Sound Action Agenda as a key strategy to protect and restore shellfish beds.
Clallam ($100,711 PIC plan), ($279,430 PIC implementation)
The Clallam Conservation District worked with several partners to develop a PIC plan to help restore shellfish growing areas in the Sequim-Dungeness Clean Water District. In 2015, Clallam County Health District received funds to pilot test the plan along a tributary to Dungeness Bay working with the Conservation District, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Streamkeepers to track down and reduce inputs from OSS, farms and pets.
Hood Canal Coordinating Council (HCCC) ($99,626 PIC plan, $601,500 for implementation)
In 2012, the HCCC developed a comprehensive, coordinated regional PIC plan for three counties and two tribes. They received funds in 2014 to implement the plan. The three counties are working with DOH to refine and prioritize areas for directed shoreline surveys. They are developing strategies to investigate and correct 40 shoreline hotspots; conduct 125 parcel surveys in high priority areas; fix all OSS failures and correct all other fecal pollution sources they find. They’re building on recent social marketing strategies to carry out a regional outreach plan for the program.
Island County Health is carrying out a PIC program in SW Whidbey Island and Triangle Cove on Camano Island. They are working with Conservation Districts to conduct outreach to the community and are investigating and working with landowners to correct bacteria sources.
Kitsap Public Health tracked down and removed hot spots that threatened 935 acres of shellfish beds in Yukon Harbor. In other areas in Kitsap County they are conducting shoreline monitoring to investigate malfunctioning and failing septic systems that could directly impact the shoreline and/or a shellfish growing area. They are conducting records review, field inspections, and sampling/dye testing to verify septic system failure or malfunction; and providing assistance backed up by enforcement to correct confirmed septic system failures.
Mason County Public Health is partnering with the Squaxin Tribe and Mason Conservation District to conduct PIC investigations in Oakland Bay, McLane Cove, and North Bay. They are tracking down sources through monitoring, field work, and dye tests. They have provided outreach in the project areas to inform and engage the community. Mason Public Health is convening advisory teams and developing shellfish protection district closure response plans in response to downgrades in the Big Bend/Alderbrook area of Hood Canal and McLane Cove in Pickering Passage.
Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe ($252,140)
The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s PIC work is being guided by the pilot regional PIC team working in Hood Canal. They are conducting sanitary surveys, monitoring and investigating hotspots and providing outreach and technical assistance for landowners in the project area. They are assessing investigative tools to help identify bacterial sources.
San Juan ($406,798)
San Juan Public Works has partnered with the San Juan Conservation District to monitor and correct pollution sources. They have provided outreach to the community about stormwater and pollution issues and are working with landowners to implement best management practices to reduce pollution.
Seattle-King County ($565,339)
Seattle King County Health Department is working with the Quartermaster Harbor and Spring Beach communities on Vashon Island to reduce fecal coliform pollution from OSS. The Health Department is offering technical and financial assistance to help homeowners treat their sewage. In addition, Public Health is developing a data system to inventory OSS for better management. They are exploring options for sustainable funding for OSS management.
Skagit County is using their NEP awards to protect and restore shellfish growing areas in Samish and Padilla Bays through monitoring and working with landowners to correct pollution problems. In addition to water quality sampling to assess trends and identify bacteria sources, they have brought in dogs to detect human sewage and are working with researchers at the Washington Stormwater Center to identify chemical markers for livestock.
Snohomish County Public Works is working with the Snohomish Conservation District, Department of Ecology, Washington State Department of Agriculture and other partners to track down and reduce discharges from OSS and livestock in the lower Stillaguamish basin. The program provides technical assistance and cost share to help landowners correct pollution problems.
Tacoma-Pierce County ($584,259)
The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department worked with the Pierce County Shellfish Partners to develop a strategic plan and an outreach plan with educational and marketing tools to guide their PIC work. They are working with an advisory group to develop a closure response plans for Filucy, Rocky and Vaughn Bays. They conduct sanitary surveys on the Key Peninsula and are working with landowners to find and correct bacterial pollution from OSS and livestock. They have used NEP funds to evaluate their outreach efforts and the performance of professionals that do OSS inspections.
Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is conducting sanitary surveys and dye tests to find failures in Eld and Henderson inlets and the Nisqually Reach and work with landowners to correct OSS problems. They have also worked with an advisory group to update and provide recommendations for their OSS management plan and sustainable funding. They have mapped OSS in city limits and Urban Growth Areas and developed a GIS based prioritization tool to assess risk factors and are evaluating barriers to conversion to sewer.
Whatcom Public Works is working with the Whatcom Conservation District, Planning Department, Washington Departments of Agriculture and Ecology and other partners to engage landowners in finding solutions to livestock and OSS pollution. The Conservation District is providing risk assessments for farmers to help them make changes to protect water quality.