Notes from the Executive Director - August 2022

August 31, 2022

After 2+ years of pandemic and zoom meetings, this summer has been a great opportunity to travel around the state and visit local partners and supporters to experience the issues we are working on firsthand. From Port Angeles to Okanogan County, I’m grateful to all the wonderful folks that have hosted and guided me on my recent visits and I’m looking forward to more this fall.

Okanogan County

Futurewise is appealing Okanogan County’s comprehensive plan to make sure everyone has enough water and to protect fish, wildlife, farms, and the unique beauty of this part of the state. A big thanks for a tour of local land use issues from our partners at the Methow Valley Citizens Council, a thought provoking conversation about small town economic development at Twispworks with Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody and a night on the ranch in the Tunk Valley with local advocates Nancy and Jim, one of the few remaining habitats for the sharp-tailed grouse that does this amazing dance.

Grays Harbor County

In Grays Harbor County, we are appealing the county’s shoreline master program in a landmark case that could set new precedents for sea level rise planning. Again, a big thanks to Anne, Richard, Linda and RD and the Friends of Grays Harbor for being my local guides and sharing what they love about this unique coastal community and the threats that sea levels rise poses for local residents and wildlife habitat. These challenges are already here with king tides crashing over the Westport sea wall and flooding the center of town earlier this year.

Port Angeles

In Port Angeles, we are working closely with the city on Greenlink, an integrated watershed planning effort to celebrate and restore the creeks that run through the city and connect Olympic National Park with the Strait of Juan de Fuca. These urban habitat corridors present an opportunity to improve fish and wildlife habitat, while also being a boon for local recreation and economic development. Our local staff, Susannah and Nicole, arranged a tour of Valley Creek and a chance to meet with City Councilmember Schromen-Wawrin and staff from Senator Van de Wege’s office.

These travel expeditions serve to remind me of the work we are doing here at Futurewise, and the collaborative efforts it requires to get it done. I am also reminded how all of this is possible due to support from donors and readers across the state. I hope everyone is able to rest and enjoy the last bit of summer this Labor Day weekend, and I look forward to providing updates again soon.

Alex Brennan