For the last decade and a half, I and other Skagit residents have urged Skagit County to address sea level rise planning in its Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) update. Most recently, as it became clear that the County’s SMP update would not include sea level rise (SLR) planning, many began to push for an alternative. This summer it seemed the County had heard us.
The long saga of failing wells on Guemes Island goes back to 1994. The sole source of fresh water for island residents is an aquifer that has been jeopardized by unchecked drilling of new wells. As the population of Guemes has grown, and new wells are drilled by new property owners, existing wells have been corrupted by seawater intrusion making the water unsafe for human consumption. Since then, Guemes Islanders worked to get Skagit County to find a solution to protect the aquifer. They have been continually thwarted in their efforts. In 2022, they tried again.
On March 1 during a public hearing before the Skagit County Board of Commissioners, representatives of several organizations expressed concerns about the absence of references to climate change and sea level rise in the February, 2022 draft Shoreline Master Program (SMP).
Skagit County, Swinomish, and La Conner began to address the impacts of climate change in the mid-2000s. Each took a different approach. What became of those efforts?
Skagit County failed to meet every single state-mandated deadline for updating the Shoreline Management Plan plan over 44 years. Now County staff are trying again.
This was our first documented experience of possible climate change impacts to our communities. Increased storm intensity, minor sea level rise in combination with a high tide created this unexpected event.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a global tragedy, from Skagit County to County Cork, from Kolkata to Kenya. In response, a multiplicity of strict national and regional rules have arisen all over the world. We have no choice. The alternative is sickness and death. Fortunately …