Northeast Camano Aquifer Protection (NECAP) was formed because our drinking water on Northeast Camano Island is endangered! The Camano Water Systems Association (CWSA) and Juniper Beach Water District (JBWD) formed NECAP. Although our primary interest has been focused on groundwater issues, we have been working with two other parties who have agreed to share some of the legal costs. These groups are the Snohomish County Farm Bureau, concerned about the loss of farmland and compliance with the county’s land use zoning regulations and the Washington Waterfowl Association, concerned about the protection of recreation use, waterfowl management and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) disregard of initial property sale agreements. These four entities have joined together and retained Everett attorney Peter Ojala to file suit against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, asking the court to order WDFW to repair and maintain the Leque Island dike.
Seawater overflow of Leque Island could result in the catastrophic irreversible contamination of our aquifer. This concern was supported by United States Geological Survey hydrogeologists when asked by Camano Water Systems Association to consider the impacts of seawater overflow on the possible westward movement of mainland groundwater that could provide recharge to the northeast Camano aquifer. JBWD in 2003 requested that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife withdraw the already funded Camano portion of the WDFW project which would remove recharge protective dikes from both Camano and Leque Islands. In withdrawing such projects WDFW made assurances that before it undertook any future dike removal that affected area groundwater the WDFW would complete a thorough extensive on-site hydrogeologic study to prove that such action would not result in the contamination of our federal and state protected sole source drinking water supply. One can understand our concern when in 2009 we were informed that such study had not been completed even though WDFW was redirecting seawater overflow onto north Leque Island through a breached dike and was proceeding with the removal of protective dikes on south Leque Island.
As on-site data collection has already confirmed groundwater contamination there is urgency in pursuing protection through court action. Law Suit #11-2-09945-6 was filed in Snohomish County Superior Court to protect your drinking water from saltwater intrusion here on northeast Camano Island. The Leque Island Intertidal Restoration being conducted by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Department of Transportation is causing the salt-water intrusion. There is even a proposed project at Livingston Bay/Terry's Corner.
Public Water systems are legally obligated to protect their drinking water supplies. If water becomes unusable because of contamination, the state or county will simply tell the water purveyor(s) that they must shut down that source and get their water somewhere else. Because it is a sole source aquifer on northeast Camano Island, that would mean bringing water in from the mainland at an exorbitant cost.
CWSA and JBWD have set up a special account with Whidbey Island Bank entitled “Northeast Camano Aquifer Protection” (NECAP) to receive contributions. This legal fund will be administered by CWSA and JBWD.
Checks may be made out to NECAP and mailed to P.O. Box 2554, Stanwood WA 98292. This is most sincerely appreciated.