Shellfish areas show exceptional water quality

An annual evaluation of water quality found that all eight commercial harvesting areas in San Juan County showed exceptional water quality, resulting in no county closures. In contrast, statewide this year, six of the 105 commercial harvesting areas were closed and 16 additional areas were listed as threatened due to bacterial pollution. The county commercial harvesting areas are Buck Bay, East Sound, Hunter Bay, Mackaye Harbor, Mud Bay, Shoal Bay, Upright Channel, and Westcott Bay. The Washington State Department of Health uses national water quality standards to classify commercial shellfish harvesting areas to ensure that shellfish are safe to eat. Protecting and improving water quality is important for public health and keeping our shellfish harvesting areas open. San Juan County, with the cooperation of residents, protects water quality through our on-site sewage system management plan, stormwater management, critical area designations, and shoreline protection.