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.
FRIENDS 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.
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>>
FRIENDS Signs the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred
Stephanie Buffum signs the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred with Chief Phil Lane of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chicksaw Nations. Photo by Paul Anderson.
In March, 2013 FRIENDS coordinated a conference that brought together thirty-five participants from First Nations tribes, U.S. tribes, Canadian and American NGOs to discuss current and proposed vessel traffic that would ship tar sands and coal through the Salish Sea, and the associated increased risk of an oil spill. The purpose of this gathering was to build a coalition of Canadian and U.S. partners for the protection of the Salish Sea.
Attendees took direct action and signed the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects. Signing the proclamation represented solidarity with the Treaty Council members, traditional leaders, societies, and their allies.
Click here to see a moving video about the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred.
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.
Critical Areas Ordinance Appeal Victory!
In January 2013, FRIENDS filed an appeal of the County’s CAO to the Growth Management Hearings Board (Board). On September 6, 2013, the Board issued a decision that agreed with FRIENDS on several meaningful issues. They concluded that the CAO’s buffers, which could have been as narrow as 30 feet, did not protect water quality or wildlife habitat. The Board also rejected exemptions that authorized septic systems, new agriculture, and utility transmission lines in or near wetlands, streams, and marine shorelines.
Although the Board decision addressed many of FRIENDS’ concerns, it failed to redress several others, compelling FRIENDS to appeal those issues to San Juan County Superior Court in October, 2013. That appeal seeks to eliminate the CAO’s authorized impacts to important, smaller wetlands and to bolster the shoreline “tree protection zone” so that it protects shrubs and other vegetation necessary for habitat, erosion control, and scenic shoreline views. The appeal is scheduled for hearing in February 2014. Stay tuned to learn the outcome.
You can read the ruling here.
Click here to see FRIENDS' legal briefs on the matter.
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 Lisa Kaufman (DNR), 360-854-2808.
Check out the press release and DNR's creosote flyer for more information.