By Wayne Kruse
Jay Koetje of Mount Vernon was one of three top citizen volunteers singled out by the state department of Fish and Wildlife’s at its annual citizen awards ceremony, which took place May 20 in Olympia.
Koetje was honored for leading an effort to improve management of the Farmed Island Unit of the Skagit Wildlife Area.
After the only available access to the island — a WDFW-owned barge — was condemned for safety reasons in 2012, Koetje stepped in with both financial and volunteer assistance. He purchased a barge and made it available for use in maintaining the island unit for waterfowl. Additionally, he provided use of a boat to push the barge, seed for planting barley and corn for waterfowl, all-terrain vehicles, tractors and fuel to maintain farming and dikes.