Department of Ecology, Again

So last Friday I received this email:

“Ms. Schoonover,

Hello my name is Andy Wargo. I’m with the WA State Department of Ecology. I recently started working as the Water Quality Inspector in the Samish River watershed. Upon file review I found information concerning livestock issues on your property at 19849 Prairie Road, Sedro Woolley, WA. In 2009 Ecology identified conditions on that were likely to cause pollution of state waters from manure related contaminants. Records show that you took steps to correct these problems at that time. However, recent field observations identity risks to water quality on your property. While driving along Prairie Road I observed conditions on your property that are likely to cause water pollution. Animals were being pastured on wet muddy ground in close proximity to a roadside ditch.

I request that you contact me to schedule an appointment for a site inspection in order to discuss options for preventing water pollution from you livestock rearing facility on Prairie Road. Please contact by phone or email.

Thank you,

Andrew Wargo
Water Quality Inspector
Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Bellingham Field Office
1440 10th St, Suite 102
Bellingham WA 98225
(360)-594-6408
cell (360)-480-9237
awar461@ecy.wa.gov”

For those of you who have not been following this ongoing saga, the background information is at:

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/government/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/ok-now-i-am-poed/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/what-i-have-been-up-to/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/backyard-and-farmyard-projects/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/fencing-and-woolly-sheep/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/so-just-when-i-think-i-know-what-i-am-doing/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/more-spring-surprises/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/shaun-the-sheep-and-llama-packing/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/the-end-of-lambing-second-time-around/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/back-to-the-farm/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/farm-plan/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/samish-tidelands-still-stressed/

https://schoonoverfarm.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/clean-samish-initiative/

So I gathered advice from variety of sources over the weekend and prepared this response on Monday:

“Hello Mr. Wargo,

We have moved our animals to the back of our property, and they are no where near the roadside ditch. We are in compliance with all the recommendations that were given to us on our previous site inspection with the Department of Ecology and also with our farm plan. I do not see any need for another site inspection.

Donna Schoonover”

I really did not want another inspection after the lying, animal endangerment, and trespassing that resulted from the first one.  Fortunately this is the response I received the next day:

“Ms. Schoonover,

Thank you for your response to my email, and for continuing to help protect water quality. I did observe on December 11, 2014 that there were no animals in the pasture area next to the ditch along the north side of Prairie Road, but I also observed standing water in a muddy area in that section of pasture. Although this standing water was not flowing to the ditch at that time it still poses a risk to water quality. A way to reduce this risk is to remove animals from this buffer area earlier in the autumn before muddy areas have a chance to form.

Also, the upcoming months are important for water quality protection in the Samish River Watershed. The time period between March 1st and June 30th is especially vulnerable in regard to fecal coliform discharges and shellfish bed closures due to frequent and intense rain events. We are asking that livestock growers take extra care in considering where and when they place their animals during this period. Runoff of polluted water presents a heightened health risk from shellfish harvested from beds contaminated with bacterial pathogens from livestock, human or other sources of manure.

Thank you,

Andrew Wargo
Water Quality Inspector
Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Bellingham Field Office
1440 10th St, Suite 102
Bellingham WA 98225
(360)-594-6408
cell (360)-480-9237
awar461@ecy.wa.gov”

But after being relieved that an inspection was not imminent, I realized that this response basically states we cannot use a good portion of our land from “autumn” to June 30th.  That is 3/4 of the year where we cannot use our pasture on a farm that has been established at least 70 years, and there is no compensation for this loss.  All of this so people can eat uncooked oysters!!!

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2 Responses to Department of Ecology, Again

  1. Tina T-P says:

    Can’t you turn those DoE guys on to your neighbors up above which is the reason that you have all that water on your property in the first place? It seems like they should have some kind of responsibility for your problems…. T.

    Like

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Tina! We have tried that with DOE and various county departments as well as a lawyer. We even did a water sample showing coil form bacteria coming through the culvert onto our property, but the county tested at a different time ( with less runoff) and did not get the same results. When we save enough money we will try a different lawyer.

      >

      Like

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