Friends of the San Juans

SJC Comprehensive Plan Commenting Opportunity!

by Friends of the San Juans on June 14, 2017 No comments

The Planning Commission and County Council are holding a hearing this Friday and need to hear comments on projected residential (AND VISITOR) population growth in the county for the next 20 years. This is the official start of public input on the update to the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan.

Where: Friday, June 16, in Friday Harbor County Council chambers 8:30 am. This a joint planning commission and Council hearing.
What: The subject is a presentation on the projected residential population growth in the county for the next 20 years.

What you can do—preparation:
You can read the official memos from the Department of Community Development on the population projections. These are here and here. Spoiler alert: these are long and challenging.

What you can do—action:
Write a letter to the Planning Commission expressing your views. Here are some areas in which you may have concerns:

a.       Adequacy of baseline “full-time resident” population
b.       Adequacy of property-owner, non full time resident
c.       Adequacy of characterization of visitor population
d.       Impacts of population on other elements of the comp plan
e.       Relevance of the population projection since it does not influence the rate of growth or the location of growth
f.        How a 20 year population projection fits into the overall buildout of the county

Here is the official scoop on writing:
Written comments must be submitted to the Clerk of the San Juan County Council at, or in advance
of the hearing by mail, Email or in person delivery. Written comments submitted prior to 8:00 a.m. on
June 15 will be copied for the County Council and Planning Commission. If written comments are
submitted after 8:00 a.m. June 15, 2017, or at the hearing, please provide seventeen (17) copies.
Please deliver written comments to the Clerk of the San Juan County Council at 55 Second Street,
Friday Harbor, WA, 98250, or mail them to 355 Court Street, #1 Friday Harbor, WA.

Emails must be directed to

Please title the Email subject line:
Population Projection Comments from (your last name or agency name)

For the record, include your full address in all correspondence.

Thank you for your voice!

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Friends of the San JuansSJC Comprehensive Plan Commenting Opportunity!

Orca Sing 2017 – June 24 at Lime Kiln Point State Park!

by Friends of the San Juans on June 14, 2017 No comments

Gather for an evening of music at Lime Kiln Point State Park to honor the Southern Resident orcas.  This year’s event is the 18th annual and will take place on Saturday, June 24, beginning at 7 p.m.

This year, Fred West and Seattle’s City Cantabile Choir will perform. Washington State Parks and Orca Awareness Month will also be celebrated.  In addition, Odin and Orca Annie from the Vashon Hydrophone Project will offer a Tlingit killer whale welcome.  While there is no guarantee, we hope that the orcas will grace us with a pass-by.

Participants are encouraged to bring a picnic to enjoy the beauty of Lime Kiln. Tours of the historic lighthouse will be offered before and after the concert. The event is free and open to the public.

A Discovery Pass is required for parking at the State Park.  Carpooling is encouraged as parking is limited.  Round-trip transportation is also available through San Juan Transit for $10 a person (pick up is at 5:30 at The Whale Museum with an 8:30 departure from Lime Kiln).

This year’s event partners include Lime Kiln Point State Park, F.O.L.K.S. (Friends of Lime Kiln Society), City Cantabile Choir, Friends of the San Juans, Orca Network, Vashon Hydrophone Project, and The Whale Museum.

For more information, contact The Whale Museum at 360-378-4710 ext. 30 or Friends of the San Juans at 360-378-2319.

See you there!

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Friends of the San JuansOrca Sing 2017 – June 24 at Lime Kiln Point State Park!

Join us! Special Stuart Island Boat Adventure for 9-12 Graders – July 19

by Friends of the San Juans on June 14, 2017 No comments

Calling students who want to explore the San Juans this summer!

Special Boat Adventure for 9-12 Graders: Exploring Stuart Island

July 19, 2017, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Leaving from Friday Harbor

Students in grades 9-12 are invited to join Friends of the San Juans on this free, fun and informative boat trip (students entering 9th grade in the fall are eligible). Space is limited to 11 students. Participants will learn about how the San Juan Islands were formed, the area’s natural history, connections between land and marine habitats, outer island off-the-grid lifestyle, and current environmental issues. Priority will be given to students who have never visited an outer island.

Students will also collaborate to create a short video about the voyage to share through social media.

The trip will leave from Friday Harbor at 9 am and travel along the geologically diverse shores to Stuart Island, learning about how the islands were formed, why they look the way they do, and how they are still changing. Students will disembark for a hike to the Turn Point Lighthouse (5 miles RT) where they can witness and learn about shipping traffic, strong currents, and, with luck, orcas passing by. Along the hike, students will learn about how people on Stuart Island live off the grid using alternative sources of energy. In Reed Harbor, they will sample a known spawning beach for forage fish eggs and learn about why this connection between land and sea is critical to the marine environment. The return trip will focus on the connections between all that was seen and learned and planning for the collaborative video.

The boat captain, Greg Hertel, is a retired science teacher and will provide expertise on geology and natural history. Friends’ Science Director, Tina Whitman, will teach about forage fish, salmon, and their connection to the health of endangered orca. Friends’ Community Engagement Director, Katie Fleming, will provide information on threats from increasing shipping traffic, orca whales and other wildlife, and information on alternative energy options.

Registration deadline is July 12. Click here to register.  Contact Katie at 360-378-2319 or if you have questions.

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Friends of the San JuansJoin us! Special Stuart Island Boat Adventure for 9-12 Graders – July 19

Comment by August 9: Anchorages in Our Preserves Need Environmental Review

by Friends of the San Juans on May 4, 2017 No comments

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) rulemaking to establish official anchorage areas on the eastern edge of our island archipelago doesn’t include a full environmental review. These anchorages neighbor several federal, state, and locally protected areas that are important to many San Juan Islanders, including the Jack Island and Vendovi Island Preserves, made possible thanks to the San Juan Preservation Trust and all their members.

These anchorage areas are basically parking lots for large and larger ships that are waiting their turn to load or off-load their cargo and, in some cases, being filled up with propulsion fuel (aka “bunkering”).

Because these anchorage areas are already in use, the USCG claims that there will be no changes/impacts as a result of the proposed rulemaking, and that no Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed. WE DISAGREE!


  • These proposed anchorage areas are next to protected areas of natural beauty and environmental significance: Vendovi Island Preserve, Jack Island Preserve, San Juan Islands National Monument, San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Washington State Marine Protected Areas, the San Juan Islands Marine Preserve Area, and the San Juan County Marine Biological Preserve.
  • The Tesoro Refinery is proposing to manufacture and export xylene, a highly toxic petrochemical. More ships with new cargos in these proposed anchorage areas could have significant environmental and human health and safety impacts.
  • Our ports are gearing up for “ultra-large” container ships that will also use these anchorage areas. Ultra-large ships will cause ultra-large noise impacts to our federally listed as endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. The rulemaking states that the “USCG finds that the proposed action would have No Effect on endangered marine mammals or marine mammal critical habitat.” WRONG! Safe Shippers need to speak up for our orca whales and the impacts to their critical habitat.
  • More and/or bigger ships demand more bunkering at the proposed anchorage areas which increases the risk of oil spills.



  • Implement this rulemaking to include a full assessment of all adverse environmental impacts and ensure that all the US anchorage areas in use in the Salish Sea (including Puget Sound) are codified and regulated to include all appropriate accident and oil spill risk mitigation measures and environmental impact mitigation measures.
  • Comply with 49 U.S.C. 303 (c) (1) and (2) POLICY ON LANDS, WILDLIFE AND WATERFOWL REFUGES, AND HISTORIC SITES that says the Secretary of Transportation may approve a transportation project requiring the use of publicly owned land only if:

(1) there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land; and (2) the program or project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site resulting from the use.

  • Conduct an EIS that addresses all reasonably foreseeable uses of the proposed anchorage areas (vessel numbers, sizes, cargos, and bunkering).
  • Mitigate impacts by prohibiting bunkering at the proposed anchorage areas at the Vendovi and Jack Island Preserves and at William Point on Samish Island.
  • Prohibit deep-draft vessels from anchoring outside of designated and codified anchorage areas.



Online and email comments must be submitted by August 9 @ 10:00pm PST.

Mail must be postmarked by August 9, 2017.

ALL COMMENTS MUST INCLUDE: Docket number USCG-2016-0916

Online (see top right of webpage):


Mail: Commander, USCG Sector Puget Sound, Attn: Waterways Management / USCG-2016-0916,

1519 Alaskan Way S, Seattle, WA 98134

For more information: Mr. Laird Hail, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound; telephone 206-217-6051; email



The Proposed Rule Document

About Vendovi Island Preserve

The Campaign to Save Vendovi Island

About Jack Island Preserve

Map of NOAA-designated Critical Habitat for SRKW

Thank you to San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping for compiling all of these awesome resources!

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Friends of the San JuansComment by August 9: Anchorages in Our Preserves Need Environmental Review

Thank you for Giving BIG to Friends of the San Juans!

by Friends of the San Juans on May 2, 2017 No comments

From all of us at Friends of the San Juans, thank you for making a donation through the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIGevent on May 10! Every dollar makes a huge difference to the work we do protecting and restoring the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea for people and nature. Thank you for helping to make our work possible.

GiveBIG resulted in an amazing upwelling of giving in this region – $19,000,000 was raised for regional nonprofits! We know you had a lot of great nonprofits to choose from, so we especially appreciate your support of Friends. We love our community!
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Friends of the San JuansThank you for Giving BIG to Friends of the San Juans!

Commenting Open House – Xylene & Anchorages – 5/4!

by Friends of the San Juans on May 1, 2017 No comments

Xylene in our Salish Sea? Ships parked in our island preserves? We resist!

Come to the Commenting Open House to hear about two new project proposals harmful to islanders and orcas and learn how to say, “NO!” to these threats.

Thursday, May 4th 2017, San Juan Island Grange Hall, 152 First Street, Friday Harbor, Drop in anytime from 2:30 to 6:00pm

The Project Proposals:

  1. Tesoro wants to ship hazardous materials to its Anacortes refinery in order to manufacture xylene, a highly volatile hazardous and noxious substance that they’ll then ship to Asia— all this in our Salish Sea and along our shorelines. We resist! Click here for a detailed handout about commenting. 
  2. The U.S. Coast Guard wants to codify anchorage areas, right next to Vendovi Island Preserve and Jack Island Preserve and also near our National Monument, National Wildlife Refuge, and National Estuarine Research Reserve — all in our Salish Sea and all without a full environmental review. We resist! Click here for a detailed handout about commenting.

At the commenting open house, you’ll learn about these two projects and how to get your concerns addressed in the public commenting process. To make it easy to have your say right there on the spot, writing materials will be provided or you can bring your own laptops and/or smart phones. Tesoro xylene comments are due May 8 and the Coast Guard anchorage comments are due May 11.

This is our opportunity to resist what’s not in the best interest of islanders, orcas and our Salish Sea. 

For more info: Katie Fleming (360) 378-2319

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Friends of the San JuansCommenting Open House – Xylene & Anchorages – 5/4!

The San Juan Island Climate March was Awesome!

by Friends of the San Juans on May 1, 2017 No comments

Our community and the world made it clear on Saturday, April 29th that the people who stand for climate action, justice, and jobs are a force too great to ignore!

300 participants joined us in Friday Harbor, more than 200,000 people showed up in the streets of DC, and there were over 100,000 participants at sister marches like ours across the country and the world.

The climate action movement showed up in a big way and we’re just getting started! Thank you to everyone in our community who helped make our climate march awesome!

Click here to see a video of Friday Harbor’s march.

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Friends of the San JuansThe San Juan Island Climate March was Awesome!

Kids and Canoes: Build-Paddle-Share

by Friends of the San Juans on April 8, 2017 No comments

Kick-off and Open House, April 21, 6 p.m., Friday Harbor High School STEM Building

Community organizations on San Juan Island have developed a pilot project with Lummi Nation member and Master Canoe builder, Dean Washington, to build Coast Salish style cedar strip canoes in the San Juan Islands with students in grades 5-12.

Students will work with a master builder and complete two 6 Seat -21 foot canoes and paddles while learning canoe history and use in the islands. In the summer, Island Rec will feature a new Voyager canoe program which participants will paddle throughout the islands while teaching navigational skills and paddle technique.

The purpose of this pilot program is to introduce island youth to Native American culture through hands-on canoe building with one of the world’s top canoe builders from Lummi Nation.

Join us at the public Coast Salish Canoe building kick-off event on April 21! Students will start canoe building process on Saturday April 22-28 and share their final projects on Friday, April 28 from 4-5:30 p.m. in the STEM Building.

This project is a community partnership with Spring Street International School, San Juan Island School District, and Friends. To make a donation to this project, please call Friends of the San Juans at 360-378-2319 or visit

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Friends of the San JuansKids and Canoes: Build-Paddle-Share

2017 Great Islands Clean-up this EARTH DAY!

by Friends of the San Juans on April 8, 2017 No comments

Saturday – April 22, 2017 from 9AM to 12PM

Help make the San Juan Islands “Litter Free by the Sea” by joining this county-wide greening event where volunteers will collect litter from public beaches and roadways. Connect with your business, school, non-profit or service groups, families and friends, and turn out for Earth Day!

Contact your island’s organizers directly from the list below or click here to find details on Facebook:

On San Juan Island:

For roadside clean-ups, contact Lori Stokes (360-378-4643 or

For beach clean-ups, contact Jana Marks (378-2319 or

On Orcas Island:

For roads or beaches, contact Pete Moe at Orcas Recycling Services (376-4089 or

On Lopez Island:

For roadside clean-ups, contact Nikyta Palmisani (468-2555 or )

For beach clean-ups, contact Nick Teague (468-3754 or

On Shaw Island:

For roads or beaches, contact Stephanie Buffum (472-0404 or )

Or just drop in at SJI National Historic Parks’ South Beach to help Friends and park staff clean our longest beach for people and wildlife. Access to South Beach is from Pickett’s Lane off of Cattle Point Rd. on San Juan Island. Past year’s cleanups have removed 100’s of pounds of marine debris and litter from this beach. All volunteers at the South Beach clean-up will receive a canvas shopping bag in appreciation and celebration of the county’s plastic bag ban that is scheduled to be implemented on May 1, 2017.

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Friends of the San Juans2017 Great Islands Clean-up this EARTH DAY!

Watch our new video – Planning for the Future: Benefits of Beach Restoration

by Friends of the San Juans on April 4, 2017 No comments

Sea level rise and climate change: they’re what coastal communities around the globe are increasingly talking about and feeling the impacts of. Forward-thinking individuals and governments are taking steps to prepare. Our new video describes how healthy shorelines can adjust to rising seas and highlights the approach one family took to redeveloping their property that considered sea level rise, beach habitat for people and fish, and protecting their investment into the future.

Click here to see the video!

Click here to see our maps and reports page for more for information about sea level rise in San Juan County.

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Friends of the San JuansWatch our new video – Planning for the Future: Benefits of Beach Restoration