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  • Power Past Coal rally at FRIENDS' 2012 annual meeting
  • MacKaye Harbor Community Beach Day
  • Exploring Spencer Spit on Lopez Island
  • Volunteers welcome canoes at the 2011 Canoe Journey
  • School kids on Shaw Island

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 is working towards clean water and healthy shorelines for fish and wildlife, safe shipping and oil spill prevention, and a livable community.

aFRIENDS has a busy year on the horizon providing shoreline property owners with free technical assistance for managing their beaches and bluffs; developing neighborhood shoreline conservation easement tools; conducting research on sea level rise, cumulative impacts and forage fish; designing shoreline restoration projects; monitoring tsunami debris; commenting on the proposed coal terminal in Whatcom County; and participating in the Critical Areas Ordinance and Shoreline Master Program updates.

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 preserve the livability of the islands for future generations.

Look for Drift Cards on Local Beaches

Jennifer and Steve from Victoria finding the first drift card on March 25, 2014.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on March 24th,  an international team of conservation groups launched 650 ‘drift cards’ – biodegradable plywood cards, each with a unique serial number – along oil tanker routes that run through the Gulf and San Juan islands (Turn Point/Arachne Reef  in Boundary Pass and Bird Rocks in Rosario Strait).

The event, organized by FRIENDS in the US and Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Georgia Strait Alliance in Canada, is part of a larger study by to map the path an oil spill might take, and inform our understanding of the impacts of a potential spill on the Salish Sea as a whole.

People who find the pink drift cards can report the location where they were found at www.salishseaspillmap.org or call 360-378-2319.

Click here to see a video of the Rosario Strait drift card drop.

Click here to see the press release.

Listen to the the story from Free Speech Radio News.



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.


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.


It's our 35th Anniversary! Join us at a summer event and help us celebrate!

Photo from Turtleback Mountain by Suzana Roach - Orcas Island Photos

Annual Meeting on Orcas Island

August 21, 2014

Celebrate 35 years of working together to protect the land, water, sea and livability of the San Juan Islands. Join us for a hike up Turtleback Mountain and a reception with hors d'oeuvres and drinks at Red Rabbit Farm.

3:30 to 5:00 Turtleback hike (free), 5:00 to 6:30 reception ($35 adults, $5 kids)

Work party on Sucia Island

September 4, 2014

Come learn about the geology and nearshore habitats of Sucia Island and help us restore a surf smelt spawning beach. Boats will depart in the morning for a 3-hour workday. Reserve your spot today!

For more information and to RSVP for any of these events, contact Julie Hanks at 360.378.2319 or julie@sanjuans.org.

Click here to download an events poster.


We’re holding a special raffle to help raise money for our 35th Anniversary Fund!

Items include:

Wooden Salish Sea Chart by Below the Boat

This is a beautiful 25”x31” bathymetric chart (the underwater equivalent of a topographic map).  The contours are laser-cut into sheets of Baltic birch and glued together to create a powerful visual depth. Select layers are hand-colored blue so it's easy to discern land from water, major byways are etched into the land, then the whole thing is framed in a custom, solid-wood frame and protected seamlessly with a sheet of durable, ultra-transparent Plexiglas.

Two Full Day Sea Kayak Tours with Discovery Sea Kayaks:  Discover the Salish Sea by kayak!  You will depart from the west side of San Juan Island with an experienced guide and may have the opportunity to see the Southern Resident Killer Whales, Harbor Seals, Porpoise, Bald Eagles and sea birds in addition to the geology of the amazing shoreline. 

Local Cocktail Kit:  A delicious locally-crafted cocktail kit that will include a bottle of award-winning seasonal gin by San Juan Distillery and a matching squash fruit cordial and bitter from Kari’s Island Elixirs plus some recipe ideas, a cocktail shaker and glasses.   All items are made with local fruit and other island botanicals and embody the flavors of the San Juan Islands.

Raffle tickets are $25.00 each or 5 for $100.  You can select which item(s) you want to enter to win.  We’ll draw the winners at the annual meeting, but you don’t need to be there to participate.  You can mail us a check (please state which item you’d like to bid on and send to PO Box 1344, Friday Harbor, WA 98250) or stop by our office (650 Mullis St., Suite 201) any time before August 20th to enter your name in the drawing.   If you can’t pick your item up at the event or our office, you will be responsible for the shipping cost.


FRIENDS Leads Blakely Island Habitat Restoration Effort

FRIENDS recently 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: In Danger Infographic

Check out our infographic! Learn about the interconnectivity of the Salish Sea and how increased shipping traffic from fossil fuel export and a major spill could devastate our environment and our economy. And please help us spread the information far and wide! MORE INFO>>







Become a member!

Donate to our 35th Anniversary Fund Today! To help celebrate FRIENDS’ Anniversary, generous members have offered a challenge gift of $35,000 to match all gifts given to our 35th Anniversary Fund.  Every dollar you donate will have twice the impact! Thank you for your support!

Attend a talk from the Climate Action Imperative’s 2014 Speaker Series. Click here for details.

Annual Meeting on Orcas Island- August 21, 2014 - 3:30 to 5:00 Turtleback hike (free), 5:00 to 6:30 reception ($35 adults, $5 kids)

Work party on Sucia Island - September 4, 2014

For more information and to RSVP for these events, contact Julie Hanks at 360.378.2319 or julie@sanjuans.org.

Check out our 2014 newsletter for more information about our programs and how you can get involved.

Sign up for the latest news that effects you and the island!



PO Box 1344, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 Phone: (360) 378-2319, Fax: (360) 378-2324 © 2013