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WSU Extension’s Beach Watchers Earn Top Honor from Worldwide Water Group

Washington State University Extension’s Beach Watchers program has been selected as this year’s winner of the Education and Public Service award from the national Universities Council on Water Resources. The award will be presented at the group’s national conference in Seattle in mid-July.

“This is fuel in the tank for the nearly 1,000 volunteers we have on board helping to educate our Puget Sound community about cleaning up Puget Sound and saving the life that depends on clean waters,” said Don Meehan, WSU Extension program director for natural resources stewardship.

Professor Michael Barber, director of the State of Washington Water Research Center, nominated the program.

“The Beach Watchers program epitomizes the UCOWR philosophy of community involvement and instruction for the overall benefit of water resources and the environment. I am pleased the UCOWR Board chose to recognize the tremendous efforts being made on behalf of Puget Sound,” Barber said.

Beach Watchers volunteers engage in a myriad of activities in their communities surrounding the Puget Sound, ranging from supporting scientific research by counting spring juvenile salmon populations and monitoring the health of the intertidal zones of local beaches, to supporting environmental studies in local schools and educating the public about the fragility of local beaches and intertidal zones. They test water quality, monitor shellfish for signs of paralytic shellfish poisoning and maintain a Web site about the Puget Sound marine environment as a resource for the general public.

UCOWR consists of more than 90 member universities and organizations throughout the world. Each member university appoints up to eight faculty or staff to help achieve the group’s main objectives:

  • Facilitating water-related education at all levels
  • Promoting meaningful research and technology transfer on contemporary and emerging water resources issues
  • Compiling and disseminating information on water problems and solutions, and
  • Informing the public about water issues with the objective of promoting informed decisions at all levels of society.

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Media Contacts

Don Meehan, Natural Resources Stewardship program director, 360/914-0736