Maintain Clean Water
Clean Water = Harvestable Seafood
The Puget Sound shorelines have the capacity to provide bountiful, world-class seafood. Help ensure harvestable resources such as oysters, clams, and crab by taking simple steps to keep our waterways clean. Here’s how:
Regularly Inspect and Maintain Septic Systems
- Septic systems that leak sewage can contaminate our waterways with disease-causing pathogens and viruses. And, like pet waste, sewage adds excessive nutrients to aquatic ecosystems which can spur algal growth and deplete the oxygen that fish and shellfish depend on. Most septic systems should be inspected once a year and tanks should be pumped every three to five years depending on size and usage. Ensuring your on-site septic system (OSS) is handling waste properly is an easy way to help maintain the health of Puget Sound.
Pick up Pet Waste- Scoop it, Bag it, and Put it in the Trash!
- Pet waste is raw sewage and should be treated as such! When it rains, harmful pathogens travel across lawns, sidewalks, and streets into storm water drains and eventually into Puget Sound degrading our water quality and potentially contaminating shellfish. Much of this pet waste problem can simply be addressed in our own back yards by regularly picking up after our own four-legged friends.
- Herbicides and pesticides are made to kill and that‘s exactly what they do when they get washed into our waterways. Even fertilizers which contain phosphates and nitrates have a negative effect on aquatic plants and animals. Try to avoid using these products, but if you have to, use them sparingly or find natural alternatives like compost. You can also plant native species, which are often more resilient to pests and disease and require much less maintenance overall.
If it’s on the ground, it’s in the water!
Water quality plays an important role in the health of our aquatic ecosystems and our ability to enjoy our marine resources. With our effective storm drainage systems, stormwater runoff quickly and directly washes into our waterways carrying with it anything in its path including pet waste, trash, fertilizer, and pollutants. Fish, clams, oysters, crab, and other critters swim and eat in these waters, and so do we! The good news is that we can all make simple adjustments in our lives to reduce the amount of pollution that ends up in our waterways. When we keep our waterways healthy, we keep ourselves healthy.
- Washington State Department of Health, Office of Shellfish and Water Protection: Find out more about septic systems and maintenence.
- WSU Master Gardeners: Helpful information about environmentally friendly gardening.
- Kitsap Health District: Beach closures, stream advisories, information on onsite sewage systems.
- Puget Sound Starts Here: Find local resources and organizations in your area.
- Thurston County Environmental Health: Information on Shellfish Protection, Water Quality and Septic Operation & Maintenance.
- More Steps You Can Take