FRIENDS of the San Juans
With a growing list of human pressures impacting the islands, the stakes have never been higher for preserving the San Juans. FRIENDS restores habitat, protects water, forests and endangered species, while building thriving communities in the San Juan Islands through education, science, advocacy, and citizen engagement.
FRIENDS has a busy year on the horizon restoring forage fish and salmon habitat; removing derelict toxic creosote pilings from our waters; protecting freshwater, wetlands, fish and wildlife through permit and policy review; educating and providing technical assistance for property owners and professionals about shoreline processes & development; engaging with concerned citizens, US and Canadian tribes, government officials and non-profit organizations on strategies to protect our shared waters from fossil fuel export; and promoting sustainable practices and clean, efficient energy options for our region.
FRIENDS will continue to provide the community with information about these and other emerging issues. There’s never been a better time to get involved or to make a special donation to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea for people and nature.
Look for Drift Cards on Local Beaches
LUSH Seattle employees volunteered with FRIENDS in August 2014 for a drift card drop.
FRIENDS launched “this could be oil” wooden drift cards in the Salish Sea during 2014. Information from the drift card study will help researchers calculate where oil from a spill might end up over what length of time and along what route. The results of the study will help communities allocate resources most efficiently to prepare for a spill.
For more information, to see study results, or to report a drift card, please visit www.salishseaspillmap.org. And if you find a card, take a selfie and share it with us!
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Free Creosote Removal Program
Are you a waterfront landowner in San Juan County? Are your tidelands home to a variety of old, derelict creosote-treated pilings or structures? Would you like to see these relics from the past removed from your property?
If so, you can now get help to remove these toxic structures from your tidelands, thanks to a partnership between FRIENDS and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This program is voluntary and free to property owners
For more information contact Tina Whitman (FRIENDS), 360-378-2319 or Chris Robertson (DNR), 360-854-2808.
Check out DNR's creosote flyer for more information.
FRIENDS Leads Blakely Island Habitat Restoration Effort
FRIENDS spearheaded the intertidal restoration of a documented surf smelt spawning beach along Blakely Island’s Thatcher Bay. The project uncovered 5,300 square feet of habitat that had been buried under rock and fill for over 60 years, and then replenished it with a combination of pea gravel and sand. This sandy “fish mix” is where surf smelt spawn along the uppermost portions of the beach. Read the press release for more information.
Before - No longer needed to support forestry operations, this log handling facility and 110 dump truck loads of rock and associated fill was removed.
After - 5,300 square feet of intertidal beach was unburied, which opened up critical shoreline habitat for forage fish at a known surf smelt spawning site.
The Salish Sea Particularly Sensitive Sea Area
The Washington Women’s Foundation (WWF) awarded FRIENDS a $100,000 grant to lead a transboundary effort in both Washington and BC to designate the Salish Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
A PSSA designation is a tool that the global community can adopt for an area that needs special protection because of significance for recognized ecological, socioeconomic or scientific reasons and because it may be vulnerable to damage by international shipping activities. Click here to learn more about PSSAs.
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A Win for Surf Smelt!
Photo of Surf Smelt by Gayle Van Ler
On June 2nd, Judge Eaton of the San Juan County Superior Court upheld a Shorelines Hearings Board decision to deny unnecessary shoreline armoring for a vacant lot along a surf smelt spawning beach on San Juan Island.
Surf smelt spawning beaches have been documented along just 10 miles of shoreline in the San Juans. This is a big win for surf smelt and the salmon, orcas, and other critters that rely on them. Given the Puget Sound Partnership's goal to increase unarmored shorelines, it is heartening to see decision-makers deny unnecessary proposals to develop our islands’ most sensitive shores.
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San Juan County Students are Saving Energy!
The Cool School Challenge team at Lopez Elementary.
FRIENDS is excited to be working with the San Juan Islands Conservation District, Islands Energy and OPALCO on the Cool School Challenge (CSC). The CSC engages students in reducing energy and carbon dioxide emissions school-wide. Four San Juan County schools participated during the 2014-15 school year. We look forward to working with more students and teachers this fall! Contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-378-2319 if you know a San Juan County school who is interested in participating.
FRIENDS, DNR and the Tulalip Tribes Remove Toxic Creosote from Barlow Bay
FRIENDS of the San Juans partnered with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Tulalip Tribes to remove creosote pilings and a pier in Barlow Bay off of Lopez Island. This project improves water quality, eelgrass growing conditions, and upper beach habitat at a documented Pacific sand lance spawning site.
Twenty-six in-water creosote pilings and approximately 1,200 square feet of remaining overwater structure (pier decking) was removed from Barlow Bay. In addition, 200 square feet of upper beach habitat were unburied by removing rock and fill, as well other debris including concrete, creosote and tires.
Read the press release for more information.