Outdoors

Water Day

Stretch your understanding

Attend

What: Annual Walk for Water

When: 11 am Sun., Mar. 19

Where: Fairhaven Village Green

Info: http://www.cob.org

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It’s time to walk the walk and talk the talk on water.

The quality and availability of water is a huge topic in the state Legislature, as federal funding for projects recedes in the new administration and new mandates are handed down by federal and state courts. Water quality monitoring could be hard hit under proposed cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and already funding for restoring Puget Sound is almost completely wiped out. A leaked EPA report suggests funding will be slashed by 93 percent, dropping from nearly $28 million in the current fiscal year to $2 million. The money, in years past, has been used to help finance a wide range of projects to help restore the Sound, such as purchasing farmland to convert to wetlands, restoring floodplains and removing fish passage blockage.

Meanwhile, the news overflows every day with grim stories of distressed waterways and diseased beaches.

The City of Bellingham hosts its ninth Annual Walk for Water on Sun., March 19, and it is a good opportunity to stretch your legs and your horizons with others concerned about water issues. The walk begins at the Fairhaven Village Green and embark on a new route this year along the Lower Padden Trail to the Post Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and back.

In addition to signs posted along the trail with facts about the theme, two tours of the wastewater treatment facility will be offered to those interested, the first beginning at 11:30am with a second tour at noon.

World Water Day, established by the United Nations in 1992, is observed around the globe. Bellingham’s Walk for Water symbolizes the distance women and children across the world frequently travel to collect water for daily household use. Participants in this free, family-friendly event are encouraged, but not required, to carry (provided) jugs of water as they walk the 1.6-mile loop.

The first 75 participants who complete the walk can take home a free stainless steel water bottle.

Before you set out, though, take an opportunity to learn more about Whatcom’s specific water issues. County policy was challenged last fall in the state Supreme Court by the Hirst decision. One of the petitioners, Eric Hirst, will describe issues related to water supply in the Nooksack River. While there’s no quick and easy fix, there may be means to address concerns and bring the county into compliance with state directives and provide water for fish.

See Whatcom County: Why We Should be Concerned at 7pm Weds, March 15 at Carl Cozier Elementary School, 1330 Lincoln St.

SVCR Emmy Lou Harris
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