As the Island County Marine Resource Committee MRC (MRC) turns 20 years old this year, so does its partnership with us, Sound Water Stewards. We have worked closely with the MRC since their beginning in 1999. Wait, what is a Marine Resource Committee? Island County’s MRC Coordinator Anna Toledo described it as “…an advisory body to county government, comprised of community volunteers who represent diverse interests and backgrounds, with the goal to protect and restore the marine resources of Island County through monitoring, nearshore restoration, and community education.” Which is why our partnership has been mutually beneficial. Over the years we have provided a lot of the volunteer manpower for the MRC’s projects. Some of those projects are as follows: Pigeon Guillemot, Eelgrass survey, Forage fish survey, Creosote removal, Seining, Volunteer of the year award, and Bull kelp monitoring.
One of these successful projects is the Cornet Bay Restoration site, begun over 10 years ago. SWS has helped on many aspects of it including seining, planting parties, forage fish egg surveys, and beach wrack monitoring. In 2017, 5 years after the bulkhead removal, surf smelt eggs were documented in the restoration zone. Today, our partnership is going strong and SWS is providing volunteers for many of the MRC’s core citizen science or education projects. Currently, we have 5 SWS volunteers that hold a seat on the Marine Resource Committee.
Anna Toledo says this about our relationship: “The MRC highly values our partnership with SWS. SWS has long been a source of motivated, well- informed volunteers who are ready and eager to protect our local nearshore ecosystem. Several of our MRC members are also SWS volunteers, and we appreciate the close connection this affords us.”
This partnership has been a beneficial relationship for both groups and we hope that it thrives well into the future. If you are interested in what the MRC does or how you can get involved check out this link at https://www.islandcountymrc.org/ or contact your island coordinator for current volunteer opportunities.