UPDATE MARCH - JUNE 2017
The Grays Harbor County Environmental Health Division (EHD) along with several other agencies/entities, are stakeholders along with property owners and commercial and recreational razor clam harvesters, who share a common interest in maintaining area water quality. Other partners include Washington State Parks, the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Quinault Indian Nation, the Grays Harbor Conservation District, and the Washington State Department of Ecology, among others. Each of these partners is doing work to help ensure coastal water quality issues are addressed in order to protect our sensitive shellfish growing/harvesting areas. For more detailed information please visit the links below.
POLLUTION IDENTIFICATION AND CORRECTION (PIC)
For our part, Grays Harbor County Environmental Health (EHD) will be conducting PIC related field work. Click here to view NBSPD notice mailed in April. This is essentially a process whereby target areas are evaluated to identify potential sources of fecal pollution (or to rule out certain sources) and initiate efforts to help correct and control potential bacterial sources. As explained in the NOTICE this includes an evaluation of area septic systems and providing property owners with information on how to properly operate and maintain their systems so they function as designed.
An Ecology Bacteria Source ID Study revealed areas that need a more detailed assessment to evaluate potential pollution sources. Click here for the study area map or here to view a copy of the completed study. Additionally, they provided funding to conduct these assessments.
COMMON SOURCES OF FECAL POLLUTION – SEPTIC SYSTEMS
Animals can certainly be source of fecal bacterial pollution but so can inadequately maintained septic systems.
EHD staff will work with property owners and residents to reduce fecal pollution and provide site-specific strategies on how to ensure their septic system is properly functioning and/or provide information about how maintenance should be conducted. This will not only benefit water quality but will help ensure owners get the most life and value out their systems.
For this project EHD staff will:
- Contact you to arrange a meeting at your property.
- Reach out to property owners to provide septic records and free technical assistance about how to get the most life from your septic investment.
- Help you prevent fecal pollution.
- Inform you of financial and technical resources available to help homeowners if a fecal pollution problem is identified on their properties.
- Ask permission to see your septic system, and in some cases, collect water samples and perform dye testing.
Financial Assistance Resources: https://www.craft3.org/Borrow/clean-water-loans
Washington State Department of Ecology – Detailed information: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/tmdl/NBeachShellfish/
Washington State Department of Health – Shellfish Growing Areas: http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Shellfish/GrowingAreas
Governor Inslees’s Shellfish Initiative: http://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/energy-environment/shellfish
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife – Razor Clams: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html
If you have additional questions please feel free to contact us:
Phone: (360) 249-4222
On December 17, 2012 the Grays Harbor Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held a hearing, and after public comment, made a motion to adopt a shellfish protection district. The motion passed, noting the importance of maintaining water quality throughout the growing area, the board selected boundary option #1. The complete ordinance is available upon request.
Our next steps will include the continued coordination with other stakeholders including, but not limited to, State agencies like the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), Ecology (ECY), Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and State Parks, as well as the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN), the City of Ocean Shores, area property owners and beach users in general. It is our goal that these coordination efforts will evolve into the formation of a more formal advisory committee.
In addition to forming an advisory committee, Grays Harbor County will continue to monitor fresh water sources near impaired marine sampling stations, as these have the potential to carry polluted runoff onto the clam beds. We will also begin to inventory smaller drainages along the growing area focusing on impaired areas. Along with that work, we will note the location of properties served by On-site Sewage Systems (OSS) AKA septic systems, which have the potential to contribute to elevated fecal counts if not properly maintained. As we continue to seek funding to expand this work, we also intend to develop outreach materials for both property owners and beach users on the importance of being good stewards of coastal habitat and in protecting public health by ensuring the continuation of suitable growing areas.
NOTICE OF HEARING GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY
Notice is hereby given that a hearing will be held on Monday, December 17, 2012, at the hour of 2:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter as the matter can be heard, and continued to 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, Administration Building, Montesano, Washington, to consider an ordinance creating the North Beach Shellfish Protection District, establishing district boundaries, and adopting a shellfish protection response plan.
Whereas, the following summary provides a brief description of the ordinance to be presented to the Board of Commissioners of Grays Harbor County for consideration:
THE ORDINANCE CREATES THE “NORTH BEACH SHELLFISH PROTECTION DISTRICT”, PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 90.72 OF THE REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ADDRESSING WATER QUALITY CONCERNS ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST GROWING AREA AND TO DEVELOP LONG-TERM STRATEGIES TO PREVENT FURTHER COMMERCIAL SHELLFISH GROWING AREA DOWNGRADES AND RESTORE SUCH COMMERCIAL GROWING AREAS. THE ORDINANCE FURTHER ESTABLISHES DISTRICT BOUNDARIES AND ADOPTS A SHELLFISH PROTECTION PROGRAM AND PLAN AS SET FORTH IN EXHIBITS A AND B TO THE ORDINANCE.
NOW THEREFORE, the Board of Commissioners of Grays Harbor County will accept comment on the above-referenced issue. A full text of the proposed Ordinance is available at the County Commissioners Office, Suite 1, County Administrative Building, 100 West Broadway, Montesano, Washington 98563, for review, and will be mailed upon request. Written comments may be mailed or delivered to the Board of County Commissioners prior to the hearing, at the address above, or submitted at the public hearing. If you need to make special accommodations to participate at this meeting, please contact Marilyn Lewis, ADA Coordinator, at (360) 249-4144, extension 458, by 10:00 a.m., three business days prior to the meeting. Written material is available in alternate formats upon request.
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY
Donna McCallum, Clerk of the Board
December 6, 2012
A draft ordinance has been created and is currently in the process of being refined. In doing so, we noticed that the posted maps and descriptions were not clear in terms of the western boundary of the District. It was our intent to include the beaches themselves in the district; instead the posted maps depict the District’s western boundary terminating at the interface with the Growing Area. We have updated the map to reflect our original intent, which will more clearly show district boundaries. Also, because the district spans approximately 22 miles of coastline, we designated 3 areas within the district called the northern, central and southern areas. This is intended to help communicate activities in those various areas. An artificial line extending west from Damon Road will form the border between the southern and central areas, while an already existing imagery section line, near water quality sampling station #5, will be used to form the border between the northern and central areas. Lastly, we changed the name of the response plan to the North Beach Shellfish Protection District Program. Click on the underlined links to view the updated documents.
If you have any comments regarding either of these updates, please e-mail them to us. We will keep this information posted for at least a week, depending on the volume and nature of reponses, we will then move forward with scheduling a hearing for sometime in mid to late November. A separate update will be issued when a hearing has been scheduled. Again, please let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Thank you.
We are continuing to work on a proposal for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) consideration. Because this proposal will be in the form of an ordinance, we intend to set a hearing date. This will require two weeks’ notice, which will be printed in local news papers, posted on this webpage and an e-mail sent to our distribution list. Again, because this is an ordinance, prior to setting a hearing date, the County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will require time to review draft language. Along with the ordinance, we will prepare an executive summary outlining our recommendations. This process will take at least another 3 to 4 weeks.
I would like to thank you for your patience as we continue with this effort and we appreciate any and all feedback.
After meeting with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on 08/27/2012 and reviewing the comments we received, we are adding two new boundary options for consideration, Option #1-A and Option #2-A. These options are exactly the same as Option #1 and Option #2, except they incorporate all of Oyehut into the district. So, Option #1-A includes the westernmost portion of the City of Ocean Shores (areas west of Ocean Shores Blvd), along with all of Oyehut. Option #2-A does not extend into Ocean Shores but does include all of Oyehut. Both continue north along SR 109 as depicted on the original options.
Parts of Illahee and most of Oyehut were originally excluded because observed drainage patterns suggested little, if any, ability to effect beach water quality at Water Quality (WQ) station #9. However, the wetlands west of Oyehut may have some northerly flow toward Ocean City State Park, where surface water can drain onto the beaches.
We plan to draft a proposal to the BOCC, requesting feedback on which option they prefer. The proposal will include a recommendation from this office to consider the entire growing area, including those westernmost portions of Ocean Shores, but to segment the district into sub-regions. The Ocean Shores region will not have any activities associated with it in the Response Plan.
There are still some minor issues that need to be researched before the proposal is finalized and set to be considered. This site will be updated with additional information once the proposal is ready and when it will be presented.
To see a copy of the updated boundary options click the links below.
The public feedback tools have been removed from this webpage so that the information submitted can be compiled and reviewed. Thank you to all who took the time to provide feedback, it has been and will be very helpful.
As we move ahead with formation of the district, we will keep this page as up-to-date as possible.
After updating the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) with the information submitted, we will begin the process of incorporating comments and suggestions into the response plan and/or establishing the boundaries. Any significant changes will be posted as updates on this page. Once that is complete we will begin the process of drafting an ordinance and setting a hearing date for adoption.
Again, any significant changes to the draft documents will be updated on this page as will any dates/times of hearings (notices are also published in the Vidette).
If you have any questions or did not get a chance to comment, but would still like to provide feedback, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org