Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Safe water requires teamwork

Education is essential for the continued health of all Whidbey Island’s resources. Each of us must understand how we can protect the environment.

The principal job of Island County Planning and Community Development (and county commissioners) should be to educate, mediate and support “good science.” When a situation becomes “us against them,” everyone loses.

Water pollution affects human, plant and animal populations. It is easier to see point-source pollution, but more damage is done to our water by “nonpoint-source pollutants.” Nonpoint-source pollutants enter waterways from widespread sources that affect a large portion of the watershed.

Surface runoff from rain carries pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers and oil from the watershed to the drainage system. Whether we live on a small, city lot or a farm of several hundred acres, we must choose to manage the land for the good of all living things, which is not as easy as it sounds.

New scientific findings prove that some of the old ways of doing things aren’t the best. The citizens of Island County must hold Island County and Community Development and the Island County Commissioners accountable for productive meetings and positive solutions. When factions disagree, we must ask, “What does each have to gain by their actions?” What does WEAN have to gain by pushing for adequate buffers in critical areas? Who benefits if the county ommissioners and Planning & Community Development decrease the setbacks?

Where do we go from here? Will there be more contentious meetings? Not if we adopt the message taken from “Hands On For Healthy Habitats: A Year-Round Guide” by Washington Water Weeks and work together for a healthy environment:

“When we think of the Northwest, we think of water. Water dominates our landscape, history and lifestyles. The things we do on our land everyday have a huge affect on our waters. Everything, from clearing land, maintaining our septic systems, driving to work and watering the lawn, has an impact on our water. To ensure we have clean, healthy waters, every one of us must work together — business owners, citizens, farmers and government. Through education, we can learn how to leave a legacy of clean and plentiful waters and a healthy, prosperous world for generations to follow.”

Roxallanne Kelly Medley

Coupeville

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