Two of the largest estuaries within the state of Washington, Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, are known locally as Twin Harbors where the Chehalis and Willapa River Basins drain and chinook, coho, chum, steelhead, bull trout, and cutthroat run. The Chehalis River is the only river basin in Washington state that does not have any federally listed endangered salmon species, and one in four oysters sold in the United States come from Twin Harbors. The coastal community of Westport hosts the largest fish landing in the state and fourth on the west coast. Tourism is an important economic engine because of the beautiful beaches and forests and the abundance of wildlife they support. Twin Harbors is also home to the Quinault Indian Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis, and the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation. However, the Grays Harbor estuary and associated ocean beach shorelines are extremely fragile and are currently experiencing widespread retreat and erosion. Increasing demands for water for municipal uses, fisheries, agriculture, industrial and recreational uses greatly affect the water resources of these basins.
Lee First is the Twin Harbors Waterkeeper. Lee has a B.S. in Environmental Science (Western Washington University) and a Professional Certificate in Wetland Science and Management (University of Washington). Her past job experience includes managing environmental controls at a Superfund Cleanup Site, collecting water quality data for cities and counties, delineating wetlands and developing mitigation plans for Tribal governments, controlling aquatic invasive species, starting-up citizen committees that advocate for clean water projects, and more. Most recently, she worked both on the North Sound Baykeeper team and as the North Sound Baykeeper (a program of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities in Bellingham, WA). Her most recent (and current part-time) job is the Outreach Coordinator for the Spokane Riverkeeper (a program of the Center for Justice in Spokane, WA). Lee’s passion for canoeing and kayaking 13 (especially exploring new waterways) and her past experience advocating for protection of these waterways makes her the ideal person for this position. Twin Harbors Waterkeeper will work to protect the watershed with expertise in water quality monitoring and enforcing the U.S. Clean Water Act.
P.O. Box 1512
Westport, Washington 98595-1512