Ashley Merscher, a Sequim native and resident, has announced her candidacy for Conservation District supervisor on the Clallam County Conservation District.
The current holder of the open seat on the board of supervisors, Marilyn Pollock, is retiring and has endorsed Merscher as her chosen successor.
The position of Conservation District supervisor is an unpaid volunteer position with a three-year term.
Elections will be held on March 14.
“I have always been interested in conservation efforts, even at a very young age,” said Merscher, a 2004 graduate of Sequim High School.
“My family never had the means to take traditional vacations to Disneyland, Hawaii or ski trips, so we opted for camping and hiking trips around the peninsula. I was able to quickly understand the importance of conserving our natural resources so we can sustain their use in the future. That appreciation quickly developed into a passion, which followed me into my education and further into my professional work.”
Merscher received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science/international relations from Colorado College with a minor in environmental science.
She wrote her senior thesis on the significance of natural wetland ecosystems and the controversy behind wetland bank mitigation. She has worked or volunteered with such environmental and conservation nonprofit groups as the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, Forest Guardians, Mission: Wolf and Stewardship Partners of Seattle.
“A huge environmental issue in Colorado is water rights and therefore water quality,” Merscher said. “I spent a lot of time physically working to enhance riparian ecosystems, restoring streams and wetlands, working side-by-side with farmers to manage irrigation water, educating the public on environmental stewardship and consulting with ranchers to improve water quality.”
Merscher said one of the key programs she’s looking forward to working on if elected is the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, one that allows landowners and farmers to assist with conservation efforts at no cost to them.
The program compensates these landowners for constructing forested buffers along streams and removing invasive vegetation in order to plant native species.