THE HISTORIC AGREEMENT TO WORK TOGETHER TO RE-OPEN SHELLFISH BEDS AND PROTECT OUR WATER
PORTAGE BAY SHELLFISH BEDS
These shellfish beds are an important economic and cultural resource for the Lummi Nation. They were closed in the late 1990s due to bacteria contamination. Dairy farms were considered a primary cause of contamination. Regulations, enforcement and actions by farmers enabled re-opening in mid-2000s, but in late 2014 some of the beds were closed part of the year once again.
It is now understood that bacteria contamination is coming from a number of sources. The Partnership enables farmers and the Lummi Nation to work together on all sources.
The Partnership agreement was signed on January 5, 2017. It provides:
- payment by farmers to support the Portage Bay Recovery Fund providing compensation for shellfish harvesters harmed by the closures
- joint efforts to secure additional funding for shellfish bed restoration
- an agreement to prevent litigation
- a coordinated public outreach campaign to inform the community how they can help clean and protect water
- Farm-specific Water Quality Improvement Plans aimed at minimizing farm pollution
- Shared effort to engage local and state governments in protecting water
BUILDING A VITAL RELATIONSHIP
This Partnership is a very important first step in what the signers believe will be a positive, long term working relationship between Whatcom's family farmers and the Lummi Nation. This relationship is vital to address a number of issues important to the Tribe and to the future of farming. It is a recognition that tribal treaty rights are a concern for farmers and the entire community. It is also a recognition by the Lummi leaders that preserving a future for farming in the Tribe's and community's interest as well as farmers.
P O R T A G E B A Y P A R T N E R S H I P
An Important First Step