42 people gathered for TF&F's March supper meeting. Sequoia Ferrel emceed the evening, welcoming everyone and noting our mission as an all-volunteer group working to meet climate and energy challenges. Ron Larson graciously sang and shared his wonderful guitar music.
Garden starts for sale: Sequoia noted that she has garden starts available (contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org) and she'll also have them at the Art of Gardening show at the Depot on April 25-26.
Shop at the Co-op April 24: Sylvia Cooper asked everyone to remember to do their Skagit Valley Co-op shopping on April 24th, when TF&F will receive the 4% Friday funds to support our food projects (seed exchange/bank, gleaning project, and pesticide alternatives). Sylvia also had seeds available at the supper for a donation, and noted she will have a table at the Art of Gardening show.
Visit Guemes: Bob Anderson invited people to "North Anacortes" (Guemes Island) and encouraged visits to Guemes Mtn (only 700' but who's counting) and the lovely labyrinth in the woods between the church and the hall - just a walk up from the ferry.
Fidalgo Shoreline Academy: Regan Weeks, with Friends of Skagit Beaches, encouraged people to sign up for the fourth annual Fidalgo Shoreline Academy. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Joe Gaydos, who will present “The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest.” You can choose from a variety of lectures and interactive programs offered by local and regional experts, researchers, and volunteers. Registration closes by mail April 3 and online by April 6. To register visit: www.fidalgoshorelineacademy2015.eventbrite.com
Basket brings cheer: Carol Bergner noted that the "Get Well" basket she purchased at September's time bank auction was given to a friend going through chemo who deeply appreciated it.
Special Time Bank meet-up: Jan Woodruff announced there will be a "meet-up" for Time Bank members on Saturday, April 18th, 10-noon, at Bowman Bay. TB member and herbalist Kelly Atterberry, and mushroom enthusiast Chris Nickerson, will lead an ID walk through Bowman Bay's herbs, seaweeds, and mushrooms. Learn about practical, traditional, and science-based uses for these plants, and how to make an herbal preparation from one of the herbs harvested in the field. (Not a time bank member? Go to fidalgotimebank.com and sign up!)
Skill-share classes: Evelyn Adams mentioned the next two skill-share classes coming up. April 11, 10 AM at the Potluck Kitchen Studio, will feature Diane Smith on how to make your own yogurt. On May 9, Tristan Smith will do a mushroom class upstairs at Village Pizza, 10:30 AM. The series extends to Oct. 17.
Don't miss the wildflowers: Evelyn encouraged everyone to get out and see the wildflower bloom on our island. Washington Park has fawn lilies, calypsos, camas, prairie saxifrage, monkeyflower and other lovelies in bloom now. Also check out the Sugarloaf and Bowman Bay meadows.
Community solar projects: Eric Shen said the two newest community solar projects (Maple Hall in La Conner and the Anacortes police station) are now fully subscribed and the installations are going out to bid.
Next supper meeting: Andrea Doll encouraged everyone to come to the April 28th supper meeting. She helped arrange for Jennifer Johnson, director of the Skagit County public health dept, to come and update us on the department's re-structuring.
Evening Presentation: "Urban Stormwater - What Can You Do?"
Lee First, pollution prevention specialist with Re Sources and a member of the North Sound Baykeeper Team who investigates stormwater discharge complaints in Whatcom and Skagit, began by telling us that stormwater is the #1 source of water pollution in western Washington's urban areas. It comes from roads, buildings, all paved surfaces and includes soap, oil, gas, metals, road grime and more. 99% of the time that untreated stormwater flows into our bays.
Along with stormwater pollution, Lee noted there is also "legacy" pollution at nine cleanup sites in Anacortes (you can go to the Dept of Ecology website to find an interactive map that shows the status of each site) that comes from leaking fuel, contaminated sediments, industrial debris, creosote, and includes PAHs (polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons), which are carcinogenic, and metals such as copper, mercury, and zinc (every time we brake we leave a little copper on the road - copper is very harmful to salmon as it interferes with their smell and ability to return to their spawning grounds).
94% of the city's stormwater outfalls exceed state pollution standards for fecal coliform bacteria. Most pollution is from "non-point" sources (i.e. stormwater on streets that carries off materials from a variety of places). Dog waste is a big problem - make sure to scoop the poop and deposit in the trash. Washing your car in the driveway is not fine, even with biodegradable soap (it bio-degrades in soil) - soap in the water is terrible for fish. (Use a carwash. Carwash "kits" don't work. If you must wash your car at home, collect the soapy water and/or do it on the grass).
We can do a lot to prevent stormwater pollution. How?
Promote more raingardens and swales (consult the Master Gardeners).
Comment on development proposals - "clamor" to the city council, etc, especially about projects that impact wetlands (the "kidneys of our landscape").
Re-vegetate open roadside ditches with native plants - work with the city on this.
Hold "don't drip and drive" events where vehicles are checked for leaks and receive coupons for discounts to get them fixed.
Very important - call the Anacortes Stormwater Hotline at 293-1921 or Skagit County Hotline (336-9400) if you see anything other than rain going down a drain. Even soil can be a problem as fine sediment smothers fish eggs and clogs gills. Concrete-cutting uses water that needs to be vacuumed up - the low pH in the water harms fish. Water from pressure-washing also should not go into a drain - collect the water, which can hold paint chips and other debris. In 2014, Anacortes had less than 10 hotline calls. We need to do better to protect our local waters, the lives they hold, and the services they provide. When you call, the more info you can give the better - time, place, offender, etc. Photos help.