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Shore Stewards help protect environment

A group of Shoreline Stewards learn the best practices of living along the shoreline of Puget Sound. - SARAH ARNEY The Marysville Globe
A group of Shoreline Stewards learn the best practices of living along the shoreline of Puget Sound.
— image credit: SARAH ARNEY The Marysville Globe

WARM BEACH — Dave and Anna Porter turned environmental stewardship into an art form.

The Porters, who live in Warm Beach, learned about the Shore Steward program at the Stanwood-Camano Fair in 2006, and joined because they were passionate about protecting the shore environment.

Shore Stewards learn how to manage water runoff, minimize erosion risks and make landscaping choices for a coastal environment.

“My husband is a mortgage banker and he was speaking at Long Beach about building green in March 2004. After that speech, he said to me, ‘I feel like a hypocrite,’” said Anna Porter.

So the couple decided to change their lifestyle to be more in line with their philosophy.

As two of Snohomish County’s first Shoreline Stewards, the Porters are very aware of water.

“We’ve owned the Warm Beach property for four years. From our window we can see Port Susan and Camano Island, eagles, herons, water fowl, seals, otters, neighbors’ dogs, neighbors’ yard waste and boats,” Anna Porter said.

They finished a major “green” remodel of the cabin a year ago, recycling some pieces from the old cabin and using green materials and processes, and now open their house to tours for people interested in learning about “green” construction.

The very upscale remodel includes a rain water collection system and a wild assortment of new building materials, including counter tops made of wheat and sorghum, old doors recycled into closet doors, and energy efficient appliances. Many decorative features are made of objects they found on the beach, like the chandelier made by Everett artist Russ Morgan.

Anna Porter also serves the Shore Stewards by offering advice to her neighbors and editing an online newsletter.

A new Shore Steward, Terry Winchell, of Priest Point, joined because he and his family, too, appreciate the Snohomish County shoreline.

“When we joined, we were already battling invasive plants with a natural approach instead of using pesticides, one of the 10 suggested guidelines for shoreline living.”

Both the Winchells and the Porters, like 1,100 Shore Stewards around Puget Sound, participate in Shore Stewards because they want to protect their property investment over the long-term, saving the natural beauty and abundance of Puget Sound for future generations.

As shoreline landowners, the Porters are very conscious of the water that runs off their land.

“We manage water wisely by capturing rainwater off the roof and using it on a timed-drip system to water our native plants. We have low-flow plumbing fixtures in the house, too. In order to manage storm-water runoff and prevent erosion on our shoreline property, we installed many pervious surfaces, including natural landscaping, pervious concrete, permeable pavers, rainwater storage and a living ‘green’ roof.”

What interests the Winchell family in Shore Stewards is that they receive the information they need to implement their own self-paced stewardship projects, such as landscaping for a coastal environment or nurturing a shorebird rookery. Ultimately, Terry Winchell hopes to use this free, voluntary, self-paced program to restore the natural features of his property.

New stewards like the Winchell family receive a free Guide to Shoreline Living, a free yard sign, and a free DVD and all Shore Stewards receive a free monthly newsletter and notification about educational opportunities.

For more information, see the Web site at www.shorestewards.org.

To join up, call WSU Snohomish County Extension at 425-357-6020 or e-mail to Sno.shorestewards@wsu.edu.

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