Marine Stewardship Areas
Whidbey and Camano islands -- Island County -- sit at the gateway to Washington's extraordinary Puget Sound. Nearly every fish, marine mammal, ship and submarine that enters and leaves this vast estuary passes our shores.
More than 1,000 rivers and streams feed fresh water into Puget Sound. Where the fresh and salt water meet, our tides mix them in an ever-changing nutrient soup. Among all the estuaries in the United States, Puget Sound is second only to Chesapeake Bay in size. Puget Sound's salmon, steelhead, orcas, birds and other wildlife are priceless to our lifestyle. Their health and that of our marine waters are tied closely to our own. They are also crucial to our economy.
To focus greater awareness and education on the unique marine assets of our Island County waters, county commissioners in 2003 created the Saratoga Passage Marine Stewardship Area and the Admiralty Inlet Marine Stewardship Area. Their purpose is education and voluntary change -- not regulation.
Please explore this website to learn more about stewardship, these two, large, stewardship areas and how you can help. If you own waterfront property or live in a community with shared access rights to the shoreline, please consider becoming a Shore Steward. If you'd like to volunteer to conduct research or perform other service to benefit the marine environment, please consider applying for the training course to become a WSU Beach Watcher.
Stewardship is an ethic people embrace willingly and voluntarily - not a set of rules imposed by law. We become stewards by choice because we value clean water, safe food and a healthy environment, and want to pass these blessings to the next generation. We take responsibility to learn about, respect and care for that which is in our trust. As we learn we gain new insights about the land we own and beaches we use. We begin to see in new ways and enjoy them more. We make wiser decisions about how to manage and treat them.
Why Stewardship Areas Were Created
Island County Commissioners created the Admiralty Inlet and Saratoga Passage Marine Stewardship Areas in 2003 at the request of the Island County Marine Resources Committee (MRC).
Currently, the Island and Snohomish MRCs are working with the Northwest Straits Commission, Tulalip Tribes and Nature Conservancy on a proposal to create a third, inter-county Port Susan Marine Stewardship Area.
Resolution Creating Stewardship Areas