Sound Waves

Newsletter for Members of Sound Water Stewards of Island County
April 2019 Edition

Table of Contents

Educational Opportunities
Volunteer Opportunities
From the Board & Staff 
Volunteer Spotlight
Good to Know!


Whidbey Monthly Meeting

Wednesday, April 24th 10 am-12 pm at Pacific Rim Institute (180 Parker Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239)
Dr. Robert Pelant will present "the work of Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship" including a tour of the prairie coming into bloom.


Camano Monthly Meeting

Monday, May 6th 9:30 am-11:45 am at Cama Beach
Dr. David Brubaker will be presenting on "Intertidal Creatures of Camano Island"

Educational Opportunities

(Whidbey Speaker Series)
Speaker Series: Science, Art, & History of the Salish Sea

Wednesday, April 10th at 7 pm at Bayview Cash Store (5603 Bayview Road, Langley)

Presenter: Carla Stehr
Topic: "Art as a way to communicate science: Illustrating marine life with microscopes and fiber art"

Volunteer Education Training Open Sessions:

Any and all Sound Water Stewards are welcome and encouraged to join any of these sessions for the current Volunteer Education Trainings. It is a great opportunity to meet the new volunteers, learn (or re-learn) things you may want to re-visit from past training and build connections with members.
(Presentations will be located at the Cama Center)
April 11th at 9:20 am Dyanne SheldonWetlands in the Puget Sound
April 11th at 12:15 pm Hugh Shipman: Bluffs & Beaches

(Presentations will be located at Whidbey Telecom)
April 11th at 9:30 am Neil Harrington: Plankton

4th Wednesdays 
April 24th at the Camano Library from 7 pm- 8 pm

Presenter: Rachel Wold
Topic: "Monitoring Water Quality in the Salish Sea with NANOOS Visualization System"

Volunteer Opportunities

Tech Wizard:

Are you technologically savvy? Or do you have connections or recommendations for someone who can help the I.T. Team update our technology management? We are looking for a couple of volunteers to learn some of the "background" of our software and also perhaps assist our transition to some new technology. Please contact your Island Coordinator (Mikaela or Allie) or Nicole Luce ( if you have some ideas about helping or would like to know more. 

Nature Discovery Days: Cama Beach State Park

When: May 20th & May 21st
Where: Cama Beach
What: come help teach 2nd graders about the ocean!
Time: 10:30 am- 2 pm

Registration 1st Day (link):

Registration 2nd Day (link):
SoundToxins: algae monitoring at Cama Beach
When: April 10th & April 12th
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours 
Contact: Trent Lowe

When: April 17th & 19th:
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours 
Contact: Kathy & Jim McNally

When: April 24th & 26th
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours 
Contact: Geir Sylte

Intertidal Beach Monitoring:

When: Tuesday, May 7th
Where: English Boom, Camano
Time: 10:45 am-2:45 pm
Team Captain: Karen Garden

When: Wednesday, May 8th
Where: Cama Beach, Camano
Time:11:30 am- 3 pm
Contact: North Beach, Jeff
Contact: South Beach, John
Note Taker for Camano's Monthly Meetings:

We are looking for someone who would be willing to take our monthly meeting notes and email them out to membership.

Contact: Bob Tushinski
Project Lead: for the post-printing phase of publishing Getting to The Water's Edge.

We are looking for a volunteer who would like to help with marketing, distributing and tracking sales of our book.

Contact your Island Coordinator or the Development Committee Chair Tom Vos

From the Board & Staff

A Message from Nan Maysen, Executive Director

Written By: Nan Maysen

Greetings All Sound Water Stewards,
I'd like to thank Mikaela for all the effort she has put into this first "Sound Waves" newsletter! She and Allie, our new Whidbey Coordinator and I have put our heads together for a better way to have SWS members know what is going on within the organization, and we hope this new newsletter will help with that!  We also hope that providing one monthly connection with opportunities for you and information compiled together might be easier for you than trying to keep up with a lot of individual emails and attachments.  

You will be hearing from your Island Coordinator about how to get your information to them in time for each monthly "Sound Waves", and our hope is that the process will be smooth and efficient for you as well as them!  
This "newsletter" is different from the earlier "SWS Beach Log" - in another way: it is only distributed to SWS members. That is so we can be focused on the information that is included. However, an expanded News from SWS will keep us connected with all the partners, donors and interested friends outside SWS on a quarterly basis. So, articles and reports from everyone are still important and will get out to the broader community every 3 months.
Aside from the new newsletter, I would like to introduce you to the new Whidbey Coordinator Allie Hudec. In her first month, Allie has jumped right in to juggle the various Coordinator tasks, and is diving into Volunteer Education Training (VET) too - - all with a big smile!  Allie brings a lot of experience with her, and we are lucky to have her on board.
A lot of good things going on at all levels right now! and I am so happy to be getting to know you all and participate in some of the meetings and VET on each island.  I continue to be awed by the talent, energy, passion, and knowledge that you all weave into your work as volunteers!
A genuine thank you from your executive director!  


Welcome Allie Hudec, our New Whidbey Coordinator

Written By: Allie Hudec

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself officially as the new Whidbey Coordinator. I am a lifelong resident of the area, other than a short time spent in Alaska. I live in Langley with my family and couldn’t ask for a better place to raise my girls. My professional background is in the maritime industry as a Captain and Engineer and in recreation/education as a Mountain Guide, Interpretive Guide, and Ranger. I have also volunteered beside many of you before for groups such as Orca Network, NOAA, USFS, and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. I am really looking forward to this new challenge and I am thrilled to be part of such a wonderful team. I can’t wait to get to know more about you and how you use your gifts to make the world a better place!

Volunteer Spotlight

Meet PaulBen Our New Board President

Written by: PaulBen

On the northern Appalachian border of southwest New York state where I was born, my Grandfather was the “Paul” in the family.  So, my family name “Paul Benjamin” became “PaulBen”. And since I consider Sound Water Stewards family, that’s the name I go by.

As a kid, we moved around a bit. Only two of us six kids were born in the same state. I did most of my growing up in outback central Florida and outside Huntsville, Alabama. We were a camping family, and I spent a lot of time in the woods and waters. From Huntsville, I came to Seattle to go to the University of Washington, which at the time had the only undergraduate Oceanography program in the county. I only completed four of the program's five years, so spent three years in the Navy, then returned to Seattle to continue college in Geology and Computer Cartography. From there I went to work in computer programming for the UW and later Boeing. 

As Seattle residents, my family made Camano Island and Rosario frequent day-trip destinations. In the mid-’80s, the early community around the then Chinook Learning Community brought me to Whidbey as a resident, and to Jeanie - now my wife.  When Jeanie took the Beach Watcher’s 2003 training, I became a “trail along” spouse. Since I was working full time, I couldn’t take the training until we came back from eight years of caring for family in southern Indiana.  I took the now Sound Water Stewards training in 2017 along with Jeanie who retook the training along with me.

I was, and am, enthusiastic about Sound Water Stewards, so I volunteered for everthing I was interested in, and that turned out to be a lot of interest, which led to even more! The next year Jeanie and I were up in front of the class doing the class facilitation, and I was invited onto the Board to fill out a vacated term. How could I say "No"? Nor could I say "No" either when Linda Ridder needed a successor as President of the Board.

As your new president, aside from leading the Executive Committee and presiding over the Board meetings, I believe my most important role is to keep a windward eye out for the overall health, well-being, and directions of our organization. And to do that well, I need the help of all of you. If you think there is something I need to know, be sure to communicate that to me. After all, we are all in this together. Thank you for participating along with me in this remarkable organization. See you out on the beach!

Good to Know!


(Image 1: Thalassiosira)
What's in the Water Today?
 As published in Camano's local Newspaper the Crab Cracker
By: Paulette Brunner
Views abound on Camano Island from the sunrise over the Cascade mountains to the sunset behind the Olympics and all that water in between. You might even see an orca or grey whale swimming by.

Have you ever looked down into the water and wondered what all the little bits of “debris" are? Most of it is plankton - floating plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) that are at the very bottom of the food chain, ultimately providing food for those whales swimming by.

Like other plants, phytoplankton is important as oxygen producers, taking in carbon dioxide and using sunlight for photosynthesis. Over 50% of the oxygen on our planet comes from phytoplankton. That’s every other breath you take. Phytoplankton come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When any one type (a genus) increases in number, we call it a “bloom”. In our waters, the earliest phytoplankton to bloom in the spring is a genus called Thalassiosira. A microscope is needed to identify those numerous, small, brownish clumps in the water as long strings of Thalassiosira, the “plant of the week".

Or you might see zooplankton as clouds of little whitish dots. Barnacles are everywhere on the beach. Their eggs develop inside the barnacle shell. Barnacles start releasing larvae, called nauplii, about this time of year. Sometimes they release them en masse and nauplii are the “animal of the week". Barnacle larvae will feed and grow as plankton before settling forever on a rock on the beach.

Every week the Camano Island Sound Water Stewards take a plankton net tow at the Camano Island State Park boat launch. We are looking for phytoplankton that can produce toxins. Shellfish eat phytoplankton. When toxin-producing phytoplankton is present, the toxin can become concentrated in the clam, oyster or mussel. Beaches are closed for shellfish harvesting when the toxin level is high enough to cause health issues for humans. Through a program called SoundToxins (, we are providing an early warning to the Department of Health and NOAA for the presence of potentially harmful algae. More on SoundToxins later.

The plankton in the water is continually changing. In future issues, we will show you what’s in the water this week. Watch for announcements of programs where you can come and look through the microscope to see for yourself what’s in the water. For more information contact: 


Plastic Innovations & Designs
Written By: Mikaela Montanari

I'd like to introduce you to the "Innovations" section in our newsletter that I will be contributing to. The Column will focus on innovative means to reduce our plastic footprint on our planet, but more specifically on our ocean. I was particularly inspired to write this column after the "Chemistry of Plastics" presentation at the 2018 Fall Camano VET training by Dr. Mahmoud Abdel-Monem. He informed our class about the harmful effects of human dependence on plastic materials for modern life which has led to an increase of plastic waste in our marine systems, along with the catastrophic ecosystem impacts plastic has on them (i.e. animal deaths, entanglements, etc.).

Dr. Mahmoud Abdel-Monem's presentation inspired many among our a veteran and new trainees ranks to remove plastic Tupperware from their homes and go back to glass containers. Seeing how empowering science-based knowledge can be on all of us, I felt inspired to continue addressing the plastic challenge with the creation of this column.

The initial column will focus on plastics because marine plastic is a huge threat to so many ecosystems and food chains, but it is not intended to shame or pressure anyone into buying any of these products or even endorsing them. Rather, I hope you will enjoy learning about some of the crazy interesting innovations that Homo sapiens continuously invent, discover, and re-discover.

    -Mikaela Montanari


Capturing Microfibers – Marketed Technologies Reduce Microfiber Emissions from Washing Machines
Microfibers are a common type of microplastic. One known source of microfibers to the environment is domestic laundering, which can release thousands of fibers into washing machine effluent with every wash. Here, we adapted existing methods to measure the length, count, and weight of microfibers in laundry effluent. We used this method to test the efficacy of two technologies marketed to reduce microfiber emissions: the Cora Ball and Lint LUV-R filter. Both technologies significantly reduced the numbers of microfibers from fleece blankets in washing effluent. The Lint LUV-R captured an average of 87% of microfibers in the wash by count, compared to the Cora Ball which captured 26% by count. The Lint LUV-R also significantly reduced the total weight and average length of fibers in the effluent. While further research is needed to understand other sources of microfiber emissions, these available technologies could be adopted to reduce emissions from laundering textiles.

Mcilwraith, H. K., Lin, J., Erdle, L. M., Mallos, N., Diamond, M. L., & Rochman, C. M. (2019). Capturing microfibers – marketed technologies reduce microfiber emissions from washing machines. Marine Pollution Bulletin,139, 40-45. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.12.012



Cora Ball
The Cora Ball captures microplastic fibers out of the washing machine before they enter our waterways. No fancy or expensive filtration system needed!

Price: 1 ball = $30
Microfiber removal: 27% 
Mcilwraith et al., 2019)
More information:
Lint LUV-R Filter
Lint LUV-R prevents microfibers from entering the water & septic tank through a filtration process added onto you effluent laundry water.
Price: $155
Microfiber removal: 87% (
Mcilwraith et al., 2019)
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