Agreement with Water Stewards comes to a close

The Town of Coupeville terminated its agreement with Sound Water Stewards as of the latest Town Council meeting.

Sound Water Stewards, formerly Island County Beach Watchers, do a variety of volunteer training, environmental and educational projects, as well as beach cleanups and wildlife monitoring.

Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes noted that the group does good work with its environmental education outreach and involving the community. Coupeville originally created the contract to help the town promote water conservation.

Hughes said that none of the group’s current projects directly apply to Coupeville, so she didn’t see justification for the cost of the agreement.

Hughes suggested that Sound Water Stewards apply for money if any of their projects enhance tourism, and that the council should keep Sound Water Stewards in mind for any future educational programs.

The original contract was signed in 2016 and agreed to pay Sound Water Stewards up to $3,000 per year for their projects around educational outreach on water quality, marine life and water conservation.

Sound Water Stewards Executive Director Janet St. Clair said the group is grateful for the support of the town during the start up of the organization.

“We will continue to provide trained volunteers in and around Island County for a healthy, sustainable Puget Sound environment through education, community outreach, stewardship, and citizen science,” St. Clair said in an email.

“We look forward to future partnerships with the town and will apply for the 2 percent grant funding available in the future,” she said.

St. Clair is running for Island County Commissioner, District 3.

Linda Ade Ridder, president of Sound Water Stewards, also said the group appreciates its relationship with the Town of Coupeville.

“We are sorry to lose The Town of Coupeville as a partner, but our mission remains unchanged,” she said in an email. She said volunteers and staff will continue to work to preserve and protect the marine environment.

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