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Learning about Water Quality
By Laura Worth

August 4, 2005.  Once a month on Quartermaster Harbor, Saturday mornings are a time for neighbors to meet neighbors, learn about environmental issues on Puget Sound, and compare notes about plans afoot for improving the health of the harbor.  People for Puget Sound  sponsors these ShoreWatch gatherings of concerned citizens all around the Sound for informal conversation over coffee with scientists and other guest experts.  ShoreWatch encourages each participant to bring a new guest from their neighborhood to the next meeting and in the process has expanded grass roots knowledge about the environment and activism for the health of the Sound.  

Examples of ShoreWatch topics to date include the "Strangely Popular Septic Social" featuring Public Health’s Larry Fay, Section Manager of Community Environmental Health.  Larry presented authoritative answers about the state of septic systems and their care as well as alternative systems like newly permitted self-composting toilets noted on their website (www.doh.gov).  In June there was a Birdwatching and Oil spill Forum.  Last Saturday, July 30th, Phil Bloch, Natural Resource Scientist from Department of Natural Resources met with concerned ShoreWatch neighbors (picture).  

Future presentations under discussion include repeat performances of the "Septic Social" and storytelling about the history of Quartermaster Harbor.  Also planned is a "work party" to re-plant the native Olympia oyster in QuarterMaster Harbor in hopes of reestablishing colonies of this little work horse.  Because the Harbor is so polluted, these oysters would initially become toxic to humans, but could serve as an inspiration to explore what might be harvested as food if Quartermaster was brought up to reasonable standards.  As a side benefit the oyster’s digestive system might serve as a tiny filter to water pollutants and it forms reefs that become habitats for other marine life.  For details or to schedule a ShoreWatch event in your neighborhood, contact Mary Beth Dols at 382-7007 and mbdols@pugetsound.org.


Laura Worth is a life and business coach on Vashon Island.  She is also a cofounder of BuildingCircles Organization on Vashon, designing affordable and sustainable, nature-integrated homes for adult independent living (www.buildingcircles.org).

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Contact Information
Robert Bornn and Laura Worth
LifeSense Institute
P.O. Box 2443
Vashon Island, WA 98070
(206) 463-4284


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Copyright (c) 2006 by Robert Bornn and Laura Worth.  All rights reserved.
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Photos by Robert Bornn.
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