After my first few months at Sound Water Stewards, I feel like I have an oar in the water and am making progress. The staff, board and members have been such a welcoming force, helping me come aboard. In the last few months, we have expanded our education programming for children and youth and developed a new program and partnership with Lincoln Hills High School. We have written grants and worked on raising resources to accomplish our mission to support and deploy trained volunteers working in and around Island County for a healthy, sustainable Puget Sound environment through education, community outreach, stewardship, and citizen science.
In my conversations with members, I am asked the question about all the different projects we support and “what happens to our data”. I have learned our work on intertidal bio-monitoring were seminal in creating replicable protocols that have been requested in other regions. SWS has been instrumental in the establishment of baseline data that will be invaluable in recovery efforts in the event of a disaster event and in ongoing scientific studies. https://soundwaterstewards.org/web/bio-monitoring-update-2016/
On another project, our members have been involved in efforts in partnership with Island County, tribes and local partners to help with salmon recovery. In a recent Marine Resources Committee meeting, the updated Salmon Recovery Technical and Citizen Committee plan was presented and credit given to stewards for their efforts. Dawn Spilsbury Pucci recently presented at MRC the updated plan and our joint efforts with NOAA, Puget Sound Partnership and others to work on salmon recovery.
I was also privileged to see a presentation on the work of our community in partnership with Whidbey Audubon and the MRC on Pigeon Guillemots. Frances Wood, Govinda Rosling and Caitlyn Connolly gave a presentation on the strong performance of Island County in this work which has been published in the journal Northwest Naturalist [ read more ] and was featured in the South Whidbey Record [ read more ]. There are multiple monitoring sites for this indicator species around Puget Sound and in Island County, we have logged 1580 hours of study, with over 70 volunteers, documenting data on 1061 pigeon guillemots. Of those volunteers, Sound Water Stewards contributed 799 hours in 2016.
Finally, in this newsletter we feature just one of our many stellar and loyal volunteers and her efforts to lead teams on eel grass and forage fish monitoring. We hope to feature more of our stewards in this newsletter and in our social media because you are the heart and soul and brains of Sound Water Stewards. Thank you for all you do.