Whidbey Island Conservation District is a hub for resources, information, and educational opportunities.
We provide general and technical information to Whidbey landowners, land managers, residents, youth, and visitors to the island. Are you a teacher? A landowner? A student group interested in receiving a workshop from us? Feel free to Contact Us about any of the topics listed below. Our goal is to promote natural resource conservation for Whidbey Island residents. WICD offers workshops, trainings, individual site-visits, presentations at community-wide events like Sound Waters University, Whidbey Gardening Workshop, and the Whidbey Island Area Fair, and we also have a great resource library at our office at 1 NE 4th St. Coupeville, WA 98239.
Check out some of WICD's publications by visiting the Newsletter & Weed Bulletin pages, or by signing up to receive information from our great variety of email lists.
Noxious Weed Fact Bulletin
Did you know that the Washington State Noxious Weed Board adopts a state weed list each year (Chapter 16-750 WAC), in accordance with the state noxious weed law? (Chapter 17.10 RCW) Noxious weeds are then separated into classes A, B, and C based on distribution, abundance, and level of threat. Property owners are required to control the spread of class B & C weeds, or eradicate class A weeds.
Do you know how to identify these weeds?
WICD has partnered with Island County Noxious Weed Coordinator, Seth Luginbill, to distribute a seasonally-themed "Weed Fact Bulletin." Anyone who signs up for this program will receive a quarterly email with a detailed description and photos of a targeted noxious weed. To sign up for the program or learn more about Washington State noxious weed control laws, click here.
Upcoming WICD Workshops
WICD conducts workshops throughout the year on a variety of topics, such as farm conservation, forest stewardship planning, alternative stormwater management (including rain garden design), natural yard care, backyard wildlife habitat, Current Use Tax programs, cost-share opportunities, and more. We often partner with other organizations, presenting workshops as part of larger events.
Check out our Calendar page to learn about upcoming workshops and events from the Whidbey Island Conservation District, as well as other regional events focused on agriculture, forestry, backyard conservation, local food, and more!
WICD Historical Mapping Project
In June 2015, WICD archived several sets of historic aerial photographs inherited from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The aerial photos are images of Whidbey Island and Island County from the 1940s, 1963, and 1990. There are a few incidental aerial photos from other years. Read more. To access a map with links to the aerial photos, click here.
WICD Annual Native Bare Root Plant Sale held year year
Each year from November through January, we collect pre-orders from a selected list of Western Washington native plants. The plants arrive in late February or early March, the orders are packed and ready for pick up on a scheduled weekend in late February or early March. If you would like to be notified when the plant list has been finalized (usually in November), go to our contact page and give us your contact info - be sure to mention your interest in the plant sale. The purpose of the WICD’s annual spring plant sale is to promote the stewardship and conservation of our natural resources. Planting native trees and shrubs can provide many positive benefits to your property and the natural environment such as improved water quality, enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, reduction of wind and soil erosion, cleaner air, reduction of energy costs, and beautification of your property! Additionally, all proceeds from the plant sale support the WICD’s conservation education program. This sale is a great opportunity to purchase low cost native plants and to get them in the ground before the growing season begins.
WICD is a Proud Member of Puget Sound Starts Here
Puget Sound Starts Here is a partnership of cities, counties, state and federal agencies, nonprofit groups, and local organizations dedicated to improving water quality and aquatic habitat in the Puget Sound region. Our focus is on the streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and other waterways that flow into Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Visit their website here.
Your Marine Waterfront
A Guide to Protecting Your Property While Promoting Healthy Shorelines
The actions you take to manage and protect your waterfront property are essential for preserving the Sound as a special place for future generations. By offering choices to homeowners, this booklet shifts the focus from bulkheads, or hard techniques, toward natural and restorative approaches to protect and enhance marine waterfront properties. View the booklet here.
Tips to Prepare for Drought & Fire Danger
Click on the images below to learn how you can Conserve Water and prepare your home for Fire Danger.
Are you a homeowner interested in receiving resources through the Whidbey Island Firewise Program? Check out an array of great resources related to preparing your homes and properties from wildfire by clicking here or viewing the flyer "Firewise Arrives in Central Whidbey" above.
Sustainable Living Seminar Series
Did you know there's a series of locally recorded videodiscs of presentations on a variety of sustainability subjects available through Sno-Isle Libraries? Visit Sustainable Living Seminar Series through Sno-Isle Libraries. WICD staff are presenters on a few of these great resources! Here's just a sampling of titles:
Energy, Water, & Waste Conservation at Home
Preserving and protecting the resources we have for future generations is important and can save money on your monthly utility bills. There are quite a few organizations and individuals on Whidbey Island that are working hard to promote water and energy conservation or buying our goods and foods locally whenever possible. Below are a few tips and tools. Check out our Local Agriculture page to learn more about the local foods of Whidbey Island.
Water & Energy Conservation
The average North American residence uses half of its water outside, so smart landscaping practices can make a big difference in household water consumption. Scale back on turf and opt for drought-tolerant native plants. Trees, shrubs, and flowers should be suited to your region as well as to your yard's microclimates. Plants' needs vary, but a good general rule is to water deeply but less frequently, check out Living Responsibly in Your Community which includes tips on watering your lawn and garden. For additional water (and money) savings consider installing a water-saving showerhead or aerators on your sinks!
You've heard it before: “Turn off the light when you leave the room,” but we'll say it again, it's easy to forget how much cost AND energy savings can result from that small action. Leaving six 100-watt bulbs burning for 10 hours per day wastes about $200 annually. While you're at it, turn your computer off at night and unplug cell phone charges and other appliances when they are not in use...these can draw a lot of unused energy.
Improve Energy Savings at Your Home or Business
The Opportunity Council provides Energy Assistance & Savings programs to income qualified households. Learn more about energy efficiency and renewable energy resources here. Looking for rebates and incentives to conserve energy? Puget Sound Energy (PSE) customers click here: residential customers OR commercial customers. For general questions, call a PSE Energy Advisor at 800-562-1482. For a local contact, call or visit the South Whidbey PSE office at 1794 Main Street in Freeland, WA 98249 or 360-331-3060.
Automatic Dishwashers go Phosphate-Free
As of July 1, 2010, a new law has taken effect in the state of Washington requiring dishwashing detergent to have no or very low levels (no more than 0.5%) of phosphorus. Why is this important? Phosphorus is a basic nutrient for plant growth. Did you know that 1 pound of phosphorous can grow 700 pounds of algae! For more information click here. Our local Whidbey Island cities and town have a variety of resources and information available on their web sites:
Use Public Transportation
In Island County we are extremely fortunate to have a FREE public transportation system. Island Transit provides transit and rideshare services that are safe, efficient and convenient for all residents and visitors alike. Riding Island Transit is easy and fun - they can get you just about anywhere you need to go between the south end of Whidbey all the way to Camano Island! By carpooling or taking the bus you can do your part to lessen congestion on our roadways and cut air pollution. Walking or riding a bicycle to the places you need to go are also great ways to cut down on pollution and congestion - and get some exercise while you're at it!
Americans generate around 250 million tons of trash each year. Below are a few tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling your garbage. Sometimes a simple fix-up job is in order: A fresh coat of low-VOC paint can make tired furniture look new; creative stitching or patching can give clothes a fashion fix. But when your possessions truly wear out their welcome, consider donating, selling, or trading them. Find new homes for castoffs on Craigslist, organize a clothing swap with friends, or give to your local thrift stores.
Island County encourages and rewards recycling by not charging a disposal fee for most recyclables. Recycling is simply taking one product and turning it into another. The more we recycle, the more we save space in landfills and reduce the consumption of trees, minerals and other resources required to make new products. For more information on what can be recycled and where to take it, contact the WSU Extension Island County Waste Wise Program.
Turn Waste Into Compost
Composting is an important component of the Department of Ecology's statewide strategy for "closed loop" recycling of organic residuals. By composting, we can transform "wastes" such as yard debris, food scraps, manure, and crop residues into valuable products. According to waste composition studies, approximately 30 percent organic material thrown away in Washington state can be composted. Reduce garbage and produce a beneficial product by composting at home. To learn more contact the WSU Extension Island County Waste Wise Program.
The common goal of insecticides is to kill, repel, or otherwise interfere with the damaging behavior of insect pests. This publication provides general information on the categories of natural insecticides that are effective for home gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Also included are more detailed descriptions of the most commonly used natural insecticide products. Many of the products described here may also be used in commercial crop production, but do not represent the entire list available to commercial growers. Click here to view.
Natural Yard Card
Birds and other native wildlife need places to feed, rest, sing, hide and court. The places they choose can vary from low ground covers to tall tree tops. By supplementing your existing residential landscape with some native plantings you can support your local native bird populations and attract other wildlife. Native plants will attract birds as well as the caterpillars, insects and earthworms that the birds feed upon. Washington Department of Wildlife's latest article "Naturalize Your Backyard Bird Feeding" provides recommendations on plantings to provide habitat for birds while beautifying your yard. You can link to this article listed below in the Resources section.
Why Mow When You Can Grow?
54 million lawns mown in America uses 800 million gallons of gas and produces 5% of the Nation's air pollution. Not to mention the “noise, noise, noise, noise!” Why mow when you can grow? Convert your yard to garden and raise your own fruits, veggies, flowers, provide homes for wildlife, and slow and filter rain water. Install a rain barrel now for watering this summer. But if you DO mow, come see how to compost yard waste at the Compost Demonstration Site at the Oak Harbor Public Works Shop (1400 NE 16th Avenue in Oak Harbor). Call 279‐4762 or visit WSU Extension sland County Waste Wise for more information.
Remember, what goes on the ground goes in the sound. Pesticides and chemical sprays that are used in traditional lawn care get picked up by stormwater runoff and get dumped directly into the Puget Sound. Consider using less-toxic products, such as soaps, horticultural oils and plant-based insecticides. Contact us for more information on how to pursue natural yard care.
Certify as Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Certify your yard today! Visit the Whidbey Island Wildlife Habitat Project. Certifying is as easy as providing these elements:
1 - Food
2 - Water
3 - Cover and Shelter
4 - Place to Raise Young
5 - Sustainable Gardening/Natural Yard Care
Don’t forget about the bats! Bats are also an important part of the backyard conservation habitat. There are over 15 different species of bats known in the northwest. The decline of the bat population is largely attributed to human disturbance of their habitat. For more information on bat boxes visit Bats Northwest.
Backyard Resources, Tips, & Tricks