District dedicated to natural resources holding election

A governmental body dedicated to protecting dirt and natural resources has an election Feb. 2.

A governmental body dedicated to protecting dirt and other natural resources is holding an election Feb. 2.

Barring a dark horse write-in campaign, the sole candidate for an open elected position on the Whidbey Island Conservation District’s board of supervisors is a shoo-in for the unique election.

Any registered voter in Island County is welcome to cast a ballot, although it takes a little extra effort.

The terms of two Conservation District supervisors, one elected and one appointed, are due to expire in 2021.

The elected incumbent, Sarah Richards, is not running for re-election.

The appointed incumbent, Dave Edwards, will be seeking re-appointment.

Both positions have three-year terms beginning in May 2021.

Freeland resident Jennifer Abermanis is the sole candidate on the ballot. In her candidate statement, she explained that she’s from a small town in Louisiana and was raised on a riverbank with a well and a septic tank.

Abermanis has a master’s degree in health care administration and a wide-ranging career ranging from executive positions to board member to laboratory inspector.

Abermanis now partners with her husband in a small organic pumpkin seed business that has a presence at the Bayview Farmers Market.

The election will be done entirely by mail-in ballot.

Ballots were available only by request. That deadline was Jan. 19.

The district started mailing ballots on Dec. 30 to those who requested one.

To vote, one must be a registered voter in Island County and reside on Whidbey Island. Completed ballots must be received by the district no later than 4 p.m. on Feb. 2.

Conservation Districts evolved from the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and a nationwide soil conservation effort in response. President Franklin Roosevelt supported the Standard State Soil Conservation Districts Act, which was signed into law by governors across America.

The preamble in the state law that created the institution of conservation in Washington explains the reasoning behind the creation of conservation districts.

The law notes that “the lands of the state of Washington are among the basic assets of the state and that the preservation of these lands is necessary to protect and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of its people; that improper land-use practices have caused and have contributed to, and are now causing and contributing to, a progressively more serious erosion of the lands of this state by wind and water; that the breaking of natural grass, plant, and forest cover have interfered with the natural factors of soil stabilization, causing loosening of soil and exhaustion of humus, and developing a soil condition that favors erosion; that the topsoil is being blown and washed off of lands; that there has been an accelerated washing of sloping lands …”

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