Community

Snohomish County seeks marine resources volunteers

The Snohomish County Marine Resources Advisory Committee (MRC), part of the nationally recognized Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative, is seeking three motivated members to serve as citizen advisors on a committee that addresses local marine issues and recommends action to County Executive and the County Council.

The MRC mission, guided by sound science and the needs of the marine ecosystem, is to "address local marine issues, recommend remedial actions to local authorities and build local awareness of issues and support for remedies."

The Committee works to address issues affecting the marine environment to continue our ability to access and enjoy the beach and its resources for generations to come.

The Snohomish County MRC has four main focus areas: education and outreach, stewardship, marine water quality, and nearshore habitat restoration.

Interested parties need not be experts in marine management issues, but are expected to have a willingness to learn about marine conservation, participate in research founded on sound science, and contribute to marine projects over a three-year term that runs 2012-2014.

The MRC meets in Everett on the third Wednesday of every month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Members must be willing to volunteer at least 15 hours per month for MRC project planning and implementation.

Membership is open to Snohomish County residents or organization representatives. Interested parties representing local governments, economic, recreation, environmental or conservation groups are encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to those who can advise on the development of proposed marine stewardship areas and have specific skills to assist in project planning and implementation.

Snohomish County boasts 130 miles of shoreline, offering residents and visitors a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of what makes Puget Sound special. Dungeness crabs are abundant in our local waters. Salmon still return each year from their journey to deeper waters. Curious children look under rocks during winter low tides, looking for intertidal creatures. Gray whales search the soft bottom for shrimp off Mission Beach and Bald Eagles keep an eye out for their next meal.

While we can still see significant beauty in the Sound, this tranquil setting also faces many challenges. Each year, 12,000 crab pots are lost in the Puget Sound and trap and kill more than 129,000 harvestable crabs. Water pollution has closed a large portion of shoreline to shellfish harvesting, and bulkheads limit the available habitat for forage fish – food for salmon. Several runs of salmon are critically endangered. The volunteers who serve on the MRC perform a critical function in helping address these and other concerns.

For more information about the MRC or to apply, go to www.snocomrc.org or contact Kathleen Herrmann, Snohomish County Marine Steward, at 425-388-6414 or kathleen.herrmann@snoco.org.

Application deadline is December 2, 2011 or until filled.

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