Who is the Marine Resources Committee
The Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative was authorized by Congress in 1998. The Initiative established a 13-member Northwest Straits Commission and Marine Resources Committees (MRCs) in seven western Washington counties. The MRCs’ main purpose is to guide local communities, using up-to-date information and scientific expertise, to achieve the important goals of resource conservation and habitat protection within the Northwest Straits. The mission of the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee is revitalizing and preserving Whatcom County marine resources for future generations. The 2011-2015 Whatcom MRC Strategic Plan is available here.
There are five citizen-based marine interest groups represented in the Whatcom County MRC. These include: Conservation and Environmental Interest, Economic Interest, Recreational Interest, Relevant Scientific Expertise, and Citizen At-Large. In addition, the MRC has representation from elected officials, local tribes, and local government staff.
The Marine Resources Committee also encourages active participation from non-committee members. We currently have several community members that regularly attend the monthly meetings and participate in the project subcommittees.
Joining the Marine Resources Committee
are currently no vacancies on the Whatcom MRC. Application instructions and a list of vacancies on
other Whatcom County boards and committees are available at the Whatcom
Click on "download an application" or if you have questions
"instructons on how to apply". Scroll down the page to view
existing Committees and Boards within Whatcom County.
From left to right: Doug Stark,
Chris Fairbanks, Ken Carrasco, Bert Rubash, Stan Snapp, Andrea Olah,
Jeff Chalfant, Wendy Steffensen, Keats Garman, Stephanie Williams,
Laurie Caskey-Schreiber, and Jerry Larson.
Marine Resources Committee Members
CONSERVATION / ENVIRONMENTAL INTEREST
Wendy Steffensen, Chair
“I work for RE Sources as the North Sound Baykeeper. The mission of the Baykeeper is to act as an advocate and educator for marine water quality for Northern Puget Sound.
Prior to working for RE Sources, I worked in the fields of toxicology and water quality and also did volunteer work on behalf of marine waters, habitats, and communities. Working for RE Sources has enabled me to use my scientific training and background in service to the environment.
Joining the MRC and representing conservation interests ensures that conservation interests are considered in discussions about our marine resources and helps keep the lines of communication open between the various stakeholder groups. It is important that we work together when we can and be open in our discussions of our resources. The MRC is an invaluable forum for promoting discussion.”Ken Carrasco, Northwest Straits Commission Representative
ECONOMIC INTERESTJeremy Brown
RELEVANT SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE
Chris Fairbanks“I was fortunate to grow up near the shore of Bellingham Bay and to spend many days playing on the beaches throughout the county. For this, I have paid at least a pound of flesh to the barnacle-covered rocks. As I grew, I became more interested in the marine waters for both recreation and livelihood. Sailing, scuba diving, and commercial fishing have been a big part of my life and I have gain much from these experiences. Over the years the county has grown and this growth has not been without environmental costs. We have seen declines in the stocks of salmon and forage fish on which they feed as well as rockfish, abalone and their habitats. I see the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee as a balanced advocate for the county’s marine resources that includes environmental as well as cultural and economic interests. I am very pleased to make a contribution as a marine biologist to this group, which has accepted the mission of revitalizing and preserving our marine resources for future generations.”
Stephanie Williams, Vice-Chair
"The Whatcom County MRC has contributed, through its sponsorship of water quality testing and clam surveys, to the development of the Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resource Management district, a sub-flood zone for the entire watershed. BBWARM is counting on the continuing involvement of the MRC in assessing anticipated improvements in water quality resulting from the actions to better manage stormwater runoff from new development, and from other sources of pollution in the watershed."Ron Akeson
“I have always enjoyed the ocean and just being around it. I love the animals, particularly the invertebrates, which is witnessed by my degree in Marine Biology. I currently derive my living from the ocean (I own a dive shop in Bellingham) and have always felt that the seas are sustainable only if we allow them to be. I joined the MRC to try and do my part as a steward in order to make sure we have healthy marine resources to pass on to future generations.”
“ I moved to the Pacific NW to have access to the marine environment. I enjoy the full range of boating and fishing opportunities on our beautiful waters. When I heard about the opportunity to actively participate in protecting and enhancing the near-shore environment, I applied for an opening on the MRC. I have learned a lot since joining the group, and feel especially pleased when I am able to discuss issues with neighbors and friends to help them understand ways to have less impact on our marine waters.”
Laurie Caskey-Scrieber, Northwest Straits Representative (alt)
Bert Rubash" Whatcom County's marine waters are a wonderful public place; a diminished yet still rich resource; a familiar, yet scarcely known or understood wilderness; close by, yet harboring dark, seldom seen depths. The Marine Resources Committee is a volunteer group of citizens engaged in protecting, restoring, and actively learning about that wonderful public place. We are citizens from varied backgrounds and with many different relationships to Whatcom's marine waters and marine life. Living at the edge of Whatcom's waters, my participation in the activities of the Marine Resource Committee returns satisfactions of both civic engagement and exploration."
Harlan James - Lummi Nation
Alan Chapman - Lummi Nation
Bob Kelly - Nooksack Tribe
Treva Coe (alternate) - Nooksack Tribe
Ken Mann - Whatcom County Council
Seth Fleetwood - Bellingham City Council
Paul Greenough - Blaine City Council
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF (Ex-Officio)
Sue Blake - WSU Extension
Clare Fogelsong- City of Bellingham Public Works
"The City of Bellingham has over 11.5 miles of marine shoreline. The convergence of many activities in the Marine nearshore makes it an especially important component of the Cityscape and raises issues regarding urban impacts to that environment. The Marine Resources Committee is a forum for discussing, educating and acting on marine nearshore issues, including those of specific interest to the City. Priorities for the City include water quality, salmon habitat, and Aquatic Nuisance Species. The City is working on several fronts to address water quality problems associated with stormwater runoff, industrial pollution and recreational uses. We are also working to improve habitat for salmon in the marine environment and to prevent infestations of Aquatic Nuisance Species. The Marine Resources Committee is an important local forum for our efforts."
Renee LaCroix - City of Bellingham Public Works
Mike Hogan - Port of Bellingham
Erika Stroebel- Whatcom County Public Works
“The Marine Resources Committee has provided Whatcom County with an opportunity to look at marine resource issues in a comprehensive fashion. Prior to this effort, the County’s marine programs and projects primarily have focused on single issues or areas. The comprehensive approach helps identify priorities that will bring the most community value, develop partnerships with existing programs, and avoid duplicating efforts.
The marine shorelines of Whatcom County are incredibly valuable in terms of aesthetic and ecological qualities, recreational and commercial opportunities, and scientific research. The Marine Resources Committee has been able to develop a greater community awareness and appreciation for the marine environment. Community awareness and involvement are essential for successful marine protection and restoration.”
Melissa Roberts - Whatcom County Public Works
"I feel fortunate to work with the community members of the MRC who work to protect and restore our marine environment. Working from the community's needs and perspective is a powerful tool for getting things accomplished. The people involved with this committee understand the treasures we have here along our shores and in the water, and they work hard to protect what's remaining and to restore what has been harmed."