Mussels on council meeting agenda

Betsy Peabody of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund will be the featured guest at the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council’s next general membership meeting, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, at McMurray Middle School, its new meeting location.

King County Councilmember Jan Drago, whose district includes Vashon and Maury, had been scheduled to attend the meeting but has had to reschedule; she’ll be at the VMICC’s March 15 meeting.

Peabody, whose organization has won kudos for its innovative efforts at restoring Puget Sound, will discuss her group’s latest project — an effort to see if native mussels can be used to help clean up Quartermaster Harbor.

Since 1997, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF) has undertaken a number of projects throughout the region — all with an eye toward improving the health of the Puget Sound by restoring the region’s native shellfish population.

The group has logged a number of successes. It has restored 575 acres of Drayton Harbor to conditional shellfish harvest, planted 10 million native oyster seed at 80 sites and enhanced 27 acres of native oyster habitat with either shellfish or seed.

The group has also had a presence on Vashon; a few years ago, it launched a project to restore the Olympia oyster, Washington’s only native oyster, in Raab’s Lagoon, where a remnant population of the imperiled species was found.

PSRF’s latest project — a study of the role mussels could play in taking up some of the excess nutrients in our ailing Quartermaster Harbor — was featured on the front page of last week’s Beachcomber. Such efforts are under way in other polluted bays and estuaries around the world. PSRF’s research, funded by way of a King County grant, will help determine whether mussels can be recruited to help restore polluted parts of Puget Sound.

For more on PSRF, visit restorationfund.org. Or better yet, come to the next community council meeting, where Peabody will describe her project in Quartermaster Harbor and answer questions.

Up next at the VMICC is a Feb. 24 forum, “We’re Talkin’ Trash,” where managers of the county’s recycling program, the King County Transfer Station supervisor and a representative of the private garbage-haulers will come together to answer Islanders’ questions about this important and ubiquitous issue. In March, the meeting will feature Drago and Julia Larson, who coordinates the county’s program on rural economic strategies.

Also, watch for announcements about an April 24 visit by TruRecycle of Tacoma, which will be at McFeeds to accept all those items that you just can’t get rid of or that cost a fortune to recycle — including computers, monitors and appliances. And it’s free of charge!

— Chris Beck is a VMICC executive board member.

VMICC is seeking two new members to its executive board to fulfill unexpired terms. Those who are passionate about the community and the issues it faces should consider applying to fulfill one of these terms, which run through November. Contact VMICC board member Hilary Emmer at 463-7277 or at hilonvashon@yahoo.com to apply. Applications are due Feb. 26.

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