Update Letter Sent July 12, 2012

Post date: Jul 16, 2012 6:30:14 PM

NECAP Update Letter Mailed on July 12, 2012

Dear Neighbor;

The Northeast Camano Aquifer Protection (NECAP) legal fund needs your support.

Your residential and commercial water supply is at risk!

Our drinking water on Northeast Camano Island is endangered!

Drinking water supply may be contaminated by the seawater overflow.

WHO IS NECAP? 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.

WHY THE CONCERN? Chuck Lindsey of Associated Earth Sciences, the JBWD’s hydrogeologist, has noted that 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. It was because of these contamination concerns that JBWD in 2003 requested that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife withdraw the already funded Camano portion of the WDFW project to 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.

Since the fall of 2009 WDFW has refused JBWD and CWSA requests to repair their breach, stop such contaminating overflow and complete the agreed upon groundwater study before proceeding with their contemplated dike removal projects. In light of WDFW’s continuing refusal to comply with numerous federal state and county laws and regulations protecting our drinking water supply we were faced with the necessity of taking legal action to require that WDFW repair the dikes, stop the groundwater contamination, comply with all applicable laws and complete the agreed-to study before proceeding with any Leque Island dike removals.

WHAT IS THIS GROUNDWATER STUDY ALL ABOUT? NECAP is not anti-fish. We simply desire a groundwater study that shows that the aquifer will not be harmed by seawater overflow. Requirements of this groundwater study would include: understanding of the pre-inundation conditions, understanding of the rate of chloride contamination, understanding likely magnitude of chloride contamination, land the long-term potential for groundwater contamination. Data would need to be collected in order to substantiate actual conditions: changes in Davis Slough flow changes as a result of dike breach, mainland-to-Leque gradient(s) with consideration of the permeability and elevation of Stillaguamish River banks/bottom, across-Leque gradient(s) with consideration of north-to-south and east-to-west flow, vertical chloride gradient(s) and deeper subsurface soil and groundwater conditions (confining layer presence), Leque-to-Camano Island gradients with consideration of the permeability and elevation of Davis Slough banks/bottom, water level/flow monitors on Davis Slough prior to and after dike fix. In order to fulfill the needs of the groundwater study, the following is essential: fix all dikes to remove saltwater inundation, install groundwater test wells east of Stillaguamish River, map the Stillaguamish River bottom elevation and bank/bottom porosity, install test wells west of Stillaguamish River on eastern Leque Island, drill deep test wells in center of Leque Island matching the deep wells on Camano Island, drilling of wells on both sides of SR532 for north to south migration assessment, establishing test wells across Davis Slough both inside and outside of the dikes, and complete a mapping of Davis Slough bottom elevations and bank/bottom porosity. As on-site data collection has already confirmed groundwater contamination there is urgency in pursuing protection through court action.

WHAT 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.

WHY ISN’T THE STATE OR COUNTY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS SEA WATER INTRUSION? Public Water systems are legally obligated to protect their drinking water supplies. However, neither the state nor county governments are obligated to furnish water to residents within given geographical areas. That is why cities, towns and special purpose water districts are charged with providing water. 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.

WHAT IS NEEDED? If each of us using water from our limited area aquifer contributed $200.00 dollars we should be able to cover most of the legal cost and achieve such protection in Superior Court. The NECAP legal fund is administered by CWSA and JBWD. Your check in the amount of $200.00 dollars to NECAP and mailed to P.O. Box 2554, Stanwood WA 98292 is sincerely appreciated. Enclosed is an addressed and stamped envelope.

WHAT MONEY HAS BEEN EXPENDED ALREADY? Here is a recap of the NECAP financials:

Income: Individual Contributions $11,120

CWSA $ 3,000

Sno.Co. Farm Bureau $10,670

WA Waterfowl Assoc. $ 3,670

TOTAL $28,460

Expenses: Mailing $ 681

Printing/Copying $ 653

Office Supplies (CWSA) $ 858

Legal $25,368

TOTAL $27.5600

In-Kind Contributions: WA Waterfowl Assoc $25,000

Sound Eco (Rone Brewer) $ 1,615

JBWD $ 5,900

Sno.Co Farm Bureau $22,500

Emrich Estate $ 1,000

TOTAL $56,015

WHAT CAN I DO? To continue, we need your financial support. We ask for your support in the amount of $200 per household. For those who have contributed…THANK YOU VERY MUCH! All of us need to step in and support these efforts.


Dale Tyler, President, Camano Water Systems Association

Kevin Plambeck, President, Juniper Beach Water District