The ABC's Annual Environmental Conference

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On March 10, over 100 participants attended Wells to Whales: Protecting our Waters, the Association of Bainbridge Communities’ 16th annual environmental conference at Islandwood. It was a fantastic line-up of workshops and exhibitors addressing the watersheds, stormwater and water quality of Bainbridge Island and Puget Sound. The organizing partners included IslandWood; Association of Bainbridge Communities; Sustainable Bainbridge, including the Beach Naturalists, Zero Waste, and the Watershed Council; the City of Bainbridge Island; and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.

The day before, about 50 people joined three water-oriented field trips. Participants explored the City’s stormwater infrastructure to see how stormwater runoff is handled downtown, including a visit to several Low Impact Development features including bioswales and rain gardens that have been installed to improve water quality and enhance recharge. Others took a fascinating tour of Winslow’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Fisheries Biologist Wayne Daley provided a walking overview of the watershed of the Lynwood Center area and Schel-chelb estuary.

On Sunday, participants engaged in a broad range of workshops that included exhibits and talks on stormwater and its effects on Puget Sound’s waters and food web; how to protect natural landscapes to support hydrologic functions; engaging green design and low impact development to improve water quality and quantity; learning about our groundwater resources; how water resource issues are communicated in the media; the ethics of water resources and water access; and much more! We learned about the challenges we face as a community in maintaining our water resources’ quantity and quality, and discussed steps we can take as individuals and as a community to ensure the sustainability of these resources.

At the conference ABC  presents the annual Environmental Award.  This year’s recipient was Deb Rudnick, Ph.D.. Deb is a scientist and educator who currently works with many Island and regional organizations and steering committees for the stewardship and protection of our environment.