Oyster feed highlights water quality

Published on Thu, Jan 23, 2003 by Meg Olson

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Oyster feed highlights water quality

By Meg Olson

�There�s a lot of new stuff to see, oysters to eat and a chance for everyone to get together,� said Geoff Menzies. Putting the finishing touches on plans for this weekend�s third annual Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District Advisory Committee open house. The January 25 event at the Blaine Harbor building will bring together dozens of groups involved in improving local water quality and eventually restoring Drayton Harbor to its former oyster growing glory.

This year Menzies said there has been a mushrooming of new conservation efforts and studies to better understand the sources of water pollution, and they will all be on display.

�A new thing in terms of education is trying to show a link between land use issues and water quality,� Menzies said. An engineering firm has prepared a display on low-impact development to show how protecting water quality can be part of development �What it basically means is rather than sending your stormwater into a drain straight into the drink and on down the line you treat it on site,� Menzies said. The county planning division will also illustrate growth trends in the county and how fast watersheds are approaching ten percent of their area not permeable to water, either covered in roofs or asphalt. �When you reach that you can�t really support functioning biological systems,� Menzies said.

A long-awaited study of circulation patterns in Semiahmoo Bay and Drayton Harbor will also be presented at the open house. �If you look at all the freshwater influences, how do they affect Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Bay?� Menzies said. The study tracks water movement from six different sources: The Little Campbell, Serpentine and Nicomekl rivers in B.C., California and Dakota creeks and the Blaine sewage treatment plant outfall.

The state department of ecology will present a new study of which local wetlands play the biggest role in water quality preservation and two dozen other displays will examine everything from pollution control in farming to shellfish farming.

Of course, the highlight is tasting what local groups want to see coming out of the local harbor again, but now donated by Blau and Taylor shellfish farms: fresh shellfish, and lots of it.

The open house is at the Blaine Harbor offices on Marine Drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on January 25.