Local Areas of Interest
Holmes Harbor Water Quality
South End of Holmes Harbor Closed to Shellfish Harvesting
The southernmost part of Holmes Harbor was closed in mid-March by the Island County Department of Health (ICDH) following a Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) pollution study of the shellfish growing area.
Water samples from 17 discharge points collected on four separate occasions exceeded fecal coliform standards, four of them consistently high. Two of the four are located at Freeland Park; the other two were found on Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBBI) beach.
Both locations had readings of 2400 fc/100ml on November 3 and October 18,2005, Permissible levels are less than 100fc/100ml. An earlier study* (May of 2004), performed for Island County Public Works by Herrera Environmental Consultants, identified raised levels of pollution at the southern end of Holmes Harbor and requested that the County Commissioners apply for a grant to determine the source. The Commissioners assigned the Planning Department to address pollution levels on a county-wide basis, thus effectively postponing a timely follow-up for both locations at Holmes Harbor.
Now, with State action, these areas will remain unclassified and off-limits until the effects of past and present pollution sources have been assessed and remedied. Meanwhile, both commercial and recreational harvesting of shellfish is prohibited from south of Ships Haven Drive on the west side of Holmes Harbor and across to Twin Oaks Lane because of its possible effect on human health. (The shoreline from the closed boundary line north to just past the Holmes Harbor Golf Course, however, will also continue to be an unclassified area.) Crab harvesting is permitted throughout Holmes Harbor. See the complete survey at the link, below.*
High water from early Feb. 2006 storm on Shoreview Drive in front of NBBBI
Red tide conditions, late summer, 2006. See Documents & News Articles in Nichols Section
Cleaning up Holmes Harbor: Island County is on the short list for a $317,000 grant (the website says $288,000) that will go far in funding the work needed to identify and control sources of bacterial (fecal coliform) contamination present in the Harbor. Last year, the top 25 grant applications were fully funded. We hope you can show your support for this effort and attend the public meeting to be held by The Board of Island County Commissioners on:
Monday, March 5, 2007, 7 pm, Freeland Trinity Lutheran Church
Shellfish Protection District Shortlist. (Prospective grantees are listed by WRIA area; Holmes Harbor is in WRIA 6.)
Status report: November, 2006
State Department of Health (DOH) prepares Holmes Harbor health study. Friends of Holmes Harbor requested the study because of concern about potential contamination of sediment and shellfish in the harbor. Because there's a data gap about exposure to possibly chemically contaminated intertidal shellfish harvests, sediments and beach activities, the hazard to the general population is indeterminate and further sampling of shellfish and sediments is required. (See complete report.) HolmesHarbor-HCdraftfinal1
Status report: July 2006
Excerpts from the letter:
In addition to the Tulalip Indian request for a DOH shellfish study of the Harbor (the final report not yet available), the DOH has also prepared a Sanitary Survey that details their review of “shoreline sanitary conditions and marine water quality data.” It also defines closure areas. (See the DOH Sanitary Survey report, below.)
WA DOH report 060719
The DOH website defines a health assessment as "...an evaluation of a chemical release and how exposure to that release might affect people's health. A health assessment is an evaluation of information related to a hazardous chemical being released into the environment, usually at a hazardous waste site. The evaluation determines whether exposure to that chemical might cause harmful health effects. The Health Advisor, who prepares the assessment, looks at past, present, and future exposures. Once the evaluation is completed, the assessment will have specific recommendations on how to protect public health. There are three sources of information used to evaluation a site...." (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/oehas/SAS_ha.htm)
Status report: June, 2006
Consequently, on or about July 1st, DOH will issue a formal notice of the downgrade and closure of these beaches, followed by a 30-35 day appeal period for interested parties (including Island County), to state why they believe the DOH data is flawed. After the close of the appeal period, Island County has 180 days to form the Shellfish Protection District, including creation of a Closure Response Committee that will include interested parties of the Freeland community. DOH has asked FOHH to be a part of the Closure Response Committee.
To assist in the formulation of our Shelfish Protection District, and so as not to totally "re-create the wheel," FOHH has collected information from Thurston County about their Shellfish District,* what it does, and how it was formed. This can be a starting point for the Committee. We will publish more about this as information becomes available.
*Q and A for Protection District
Oil Spill clean up letter
*DOH Shoreline Survey Final
00-01769-004 Freeland WQ assessment
Survey Report Comments
Letter to ICPCD
Clam hot-spot shut down - May 13, 2006
Friends of Holmes Harbor
© 2006 Friends of Holmes Harbor