This month marks the 3rd anniversary of the Drayton Harbor Shellfish beds reopening for commercial harvesting.

Drayton Harbor suffered from pollution and it took years of effort to clean it up and get the OK for commercial harvesting. Initially 810 acres of shellfish beds reopened, but this year an additional 765 acres was opened up. 

The County puts on an event to celebrate the clean waters, the Drayton Harbor Shellebration, in Blaine. 

At this year’s event, the Whatcom Conservation District recognized RTJ Farm, a local dairy farm, for their efforts toward land stewardship. 

“RTJ Farm exemplifies land stewardship in the Drayton Harbor watershed. They have worked closely with Whatcom Conservation District on grazing and nutrient management plans over the years resulting in some innovative projects,” presented Aneka Sweeney with the Conservation District. 

Rod and Sharon Tjoelker, owners of RTJ Farm, were at the event to accept the award. Rod has served on the Drayton Watershed Improvement District Board since 2014. 

Fair Cow’s Path, owned by Marie Hegarty and Steve Leggit, were also awarded at the event with the 2019 Drayton Harbor Watershed Steward Award for “their commitment to on-farm stewardship and for being a leader in the farm community.”

“They have built a new winter-feeding area, manure management bunker and an improved winter confinement area to reduce the amount of mud slowing down their chores,” Sweeney said at the event.