Come ‘shell-ebrate’ improved water quality

By Stefanie Donahue

Efforts to improve water quality in the local watershed paid off two years ago when the Washington State Department of Health lifted recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting restrictions on 810 acres of Drayton Harbor.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Whatcom County Public Works Department is hosting a ‘Shellebration’ from 4–6 p.m. on Friday, December 14 at the G Street Plaza. The event is free and will include refreshments, oyster samples from Drayton Harbor Oyster Co., activities for kids and a community awards ceremony that begins at 4:30 p.m.

Harvesting restrictions in Drayton Harbor were imposed in 1995 due to high levels of pollution making consumption of shellfish unsafe, and continued until 2016.

State and county agencies, nonprofit organizations and volunteers came together to evaluate and repair septic systems, utilize marine pump-out stations, invest in wastewater and stormwater systems, improve pasture and manure management, plant trees and shrubs along waterways and pickup pet waste.

The still-active Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District advisory committee was also established.

“Continued community participation in these and other pollution prevention actions is needed to ensure clean water to keep the shellfish beds open and local waterways safe,” read a press release from the Whatcom County Public Works Department. “Thanks to everyone for doing your part to keep the water clean.”

The upcoming ‘Shellebration’ will take place outside, so guests should dress accordingly. To learn more about the event, call 360/778-6302.

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