San Juan County prioritizes island stewardship with new department
Submitted by San Juan County.
The San Juan County Council voted unanimously to elevate the environmental resources division to an independent county department earlier this year. The county has a long history of investing in the environment, making great strides over the past five years with strong County Council support in areas such as clean water and the protection of Southern Resident Killer Whales.
The professional team of scientists, engineers and educators within the department have accelerated the scope and scale of environmental work to benefit the community, spurring change. The diversity of programs and sources of funding – clean water, solid waste, marine resources, culture, and climate and sustainability – also justified an upgrade from a division to a department.
The expansion has resulted in the creation of two new positions, placing more emphasis on sustainability and climate action within the county. The formation of a new Climate and Sustainability Advisory Committee, currently underway, will complement the variety of environmental advisory committees spanning the Department’s program areas. The Department is also spearheading efforts to more fully integrate cultural resources into the work of the county.
Stewardship was chosen as the name by the department’s team because it reflects both their commitment to the environment and their work to encourage all to be stewards of the San Juan Islands and beyond. New outreach strategies are also being implemented to increase citizen engagement and awareness of local stewardship. If you want to know more, visit www.bit.ly/StewardshipInSanJuanCounty.