facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

The Samish Indian Nation announced its Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has passed the one-million pounds of debris in its efforts to clean up the waters and shoreline of Skagit County, Island County, Whatcom County and the San Juan Islands. The tribe said earlier this week 1,095,534 pounds of man-made toxins and objects, including creosote-treated wood, waterborne plastics, tires, derelict boats and more. have been removed from the water and shoreline.

“Our culture is directly tied to the environment around us, and preserving the land and water of the Salish Sea honors our ancestors and future generations alike,”  Samish Indian Nation Chairman Tom Wooten said.. “The work the Samish DNR is doing preserves our cultural identity. Without the water and life within it, we have nothing.”  

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

Since 2004, the cleanup of debris in the Puget Sound region has been a focal point of the WADNR's Restoration Program. Initially concentrated in the North Sound, this endeavor has now expanded to encompass regions throughout the Puget Sound. 

The tribe’s DNR marine cleanup operations were conducted in collaboration with various entities, including the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WADNR), Washington Conservation Corps, Veterans Conservation Corps, and EarthCorps. The partnership between the Samish DNR and WADNR, established in 2014, has been instrumental in the cleanup efforts, with the Samish DNR providing landing crafts and manpower annually.

Clean up debris from water and shoreline. (Photo/Samish Indian Nation DNR)

“Samish DNR focuses on preserving, protecting and restoring natural resources important to Samish Tribal Citizens for now and future generations,” said Matt Castle, Manager of Samish Department of Natural Resources. “The Samish DNR remains committed to the ongoing removal of debris from Samish Traditional Territory to ensure the Samish people and neighboring communities will be able to utilize the natural resources of the Salish Sea for years to come.” 

Chairman Wooten reiterated the enduring commitment of the Samish people to stewarding their land and waters, ensuring a better environment for generations to come.

The collaborative efforts of Samish DNR, the Washington Conservation Corps, and WADNR will resume cleanup activities from June through August, utilizing the MyCoast app to document all marine debris collected. The public is encouraged to participate by downloading the app and reporting any sightings of marine debris, with all information gathered being shared with the Samish and Washington State DNRs. 

This ongoing project will continue annually, contingent upon funding availability.


More Stories Like This

Former NCAI President Fawn Sharp Appointed to Nature Conservancy Board
New Interagency Agreement Supports Water Tribal Water and Sanitation Projects
Biden Unrolls Multi-Million Dollar Solar Grant on Earth Day, More to Come Throughout Week
Native American Rights Fund Gets $100K For Tribal Eco-Stewardship Legal Support
Indigenous Peoples Rush to Stop ‘False Climate Solutions’ Ahead of Next International Climate meeting

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].