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Liberty Bay Shellfish Beds Open for First Time In Decades

The Chronicle - 9/16/2017

Sept. 16--An improvement in Puget Sound water quality has prompted state health officials to open some Liberty Bay shellfish beds near Poulsbo for the first time since 1991.

The 760 acres of commercial shellfish beds were shuttered 26 years ago due to increasing pollution in Puget Sound. Since the closure, Kitsap County has been working with various stakeholders to improve the water quality through pollution identification and assorted correction strategies. As a result, the marine water has been reconditioned to meet the strict health standards for harvesting shellfish.

Clean Water Kitsap is a partnership between Kitsap County, the Kitsap Public Health District, the Kitsap County Conservation District, the Washington State University Extension, the Suquamish Tribe, the city of Poulsbo and hundreds of private property owners. That coalition began their concerted work to improve water quality more than a decade ago. Their efforts led directly to the repair of many on-site sewage systems, the implementation of manure management practices and improvements to Poulsbo's wastewater collections system.

Federal regulations still require that the harvest area remain closed from May through September each year due to the large number of boats in the bay.

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(c)2017 The Chronicle (Centralia, Wash.)

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