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Watch: Stuart Island Youth Exploration

by Friends of the San Juans on August 22, 2017 No comments

We had a great time on Stuart Island with local youth in July – check out the video:

We’re always looking for young people to get involved with us! In fact, this video was created by our summer social media intern who is a 12th grader at Spring Street. Get in touch if you’d like to join us (!

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Friends of the San JuansWatch: Stuart Island Youth Exploration

Action Alert: A Simple Way To Fight the Oil Industry!

by Friends of the San Juans on August 22, 2017 No comments

We need your help to take a stand against the oil industry. Stand Up To Oil , a coalition of regional environmental groups (including Friends of the San Juans), has been selected to receive up to $100,000 from CREDO Donations — but the amount of funding they receive depends on you.

Each month, our friends at CREDO donate a portion of their revenue to progressive causes-and August is our month! By voting for Stand Up To Oil you are helping us raise the funds we need to take on the most powerful industry in the world.

We need your vote! Click here to vote for Stand Up To Oil. (It only takes about a minute.)

Out of state oil companies keep trying to turn the Pacific Northwest into their doormat. But, we are fighting back, and winning! In just the last few years alone, we have stopped a new oil refinery, several crude oil-by-rail projects, and a refinery expansion project. Our work isn’t over though. We are expecting a big decision on the largest crude oil-by-rail project in North America sometime this fall.

The more votes Stand Up To Oil receives, the more money we receive from CREDO. Please vote and share this link with three of your friends (by email or social media) and help us protect the Northwest from the oil industry’s dirty and dangerous plan:

We can, and will fight back but we need the resources to make it happen. Stand Up To Oil is very excited about this opportunity to receive funding through CREDO.

Thank you for your vote and support!

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Friends of the San JuansAction Alert: A Simple Way To Fight the Oil Industry!

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

by Friends of the San Juans on August 2, 2017 No comments
The USCG has received 70 comments on their anchorages rulemaking so far. Thank you to everyone who has made a comment! If you haven’t please do so ASAP and help us get to 100 comments before 8:59 p.m. tonight (8/9/2017)!
The San Juan County Council just sent in a comment letter! Click here to read it. 
We have until 8:59 p.m. tonight to send comments via this portal:
Your comment can be as simple as:
  • I’m commenting for the orcas and support the San Juan County Council’s comment letter.
  • Please conduct an EIS.
Thank you for speaking up on behalf of our Southern Resident Killer Whales, our environment, and our economy! Please see the original action alert below for more information.
Here’s another opportunity to speak up for our orca whales and against impacts to their critical habitat.
Many of us sent letters last May to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regarding their rulemaking to establish anchorage areas on the eastern edge of our island archipelago. We asked for a full environmental review to be included.
The good news: the comment deadline has been extended. The bad news: the USCG’s new “Record of Environmental Consideration” still concludes that there will be no environmental impacts. Why? The USCG claims that because these anchorage areas are already in use, there will be no changes or impacts and that no Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed.
Future use of these anchorage areas will include larger ships, increases in vessel traffic, and associated increased oil spill risk. The USCG claims there will be no impacts to our waters, the orca whales, and the neighboring federal, state, and locally protected areas. We disagree and are asking for a full environmental review.
These proposed anchorage areas are next to protected areas of natural beauty and environmental significance. These protected areas have “special designation” and are “Environmentally Sensitive Areas” according to the USCG. Vendovi Island Preserve and Jack Island Preserve were made possible thanks to the San Juan Preservation Trust and all their members. Other protected areas are the 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 on track for approval 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.
More and/or bigger ships demand more bunkering at the proposed anchorage areas which increases the risk of oil spills.
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.” We must tell them we disagree.
Implement this rulemaking with a full assessment of all impacts to the quality of the human environment and environmental impacts, to ensure that all the US anchorage areas in use in the Salish Sea (including Puget Sound) are codified and regulated to include all appropriate environmental impact and accident risk and oil spill risk mitigation measures with monitoring for effectiveness.
Conduct an EIS that addresses all reasonably foreseeable future uses of the proposed anchorage areas (vessel numbers, sizes, cargos, and bunkering operations).
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.
[NOTE: This is a mouthful, but it’s lingo the USCG understands, so feel free to cut and paste this into your personal letter.]
Online and email comments must be submitted by August 9 @ 9:00pm PST.  Mail must be postmarked by August 9, 2017.
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

About Ship Noise and Killer Whales

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

Special Boat Trip! Learn about Smuggling Past & Future of Salmon

by Katie Fleming on August 1, 2017 No comments
We’ve got a few spots left on next week’s boat adventure – “Salish Sea: Smuggling Past and Salmon Futures.” Join us for this special trip!
Here are the details:
Tuesday, August 8, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Depart from Friday Harbor.
Admission: $135.00
The intricate waterways of the islands made the perfect place to catch fish as well as hideouts for smugglers. Hear stories of our fishing heritage and future and learn about the people and places that were involved with smuggling wool, liquor, people and wildlife.
Travel through Cattle Pass to the Salmon Banks for a first-hand look at the waters that are still are resource for native fisherman and whales. Learn about salmon populations in the San Juan Islands. And along the way, you’ll also be introduced to the fascinating stories of 150 years of smuggling in the islands.
With just 12 people aboard, this tour will be intimate and informed, providing in-depth knowledge about some of our islands history. The $135 admission fee covers the cost of the boat and is not tax-deductible. Click here to register now.
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Katie FlemingSpecial Boat Trip! Learn about Smuggling Past & Future of Salmon

Join & Help for Canoe Journey Stop-overs – Lopez July 24 & San Juan July 25

by Friends of the San Juans on July 13, 2017 No comments

Each summer inter-tribal canoes depart from their homeland to a common destination within Coast Salish territory. Canoes will pass through the San Juan Islands on their way to the final destination in the Campbell River with the We Wai Kai Nation & Wei Wai Kum Nation. Canoe families, relatives, friends and spectators are invited to attend the final landing and festivities Aug 5 – 10, 2017. This year’s theme is “Standing Together.”

San Juan Islands will host 12 Canoe Families. This will include 200 paddlers, support boat and land crews.

Paddlers will arrive:

Monday, July 24 at Sxwalech (Odlin County Park, Lopez Island) around 4 p.m. and will be greeted with songs and blessings from tribal elders and local representatives. Celebrations will follow after dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 25 at Pe’pi’ow’elh (English Camp, San Juan Island National Historical Park). Landing ceremony at approximately 3 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.

All events are free and the public is welcome.

We need volunteers to help with meals and support boats. Crossings include: July 24 from Washington Park across Rosario Strait (11 a.m.-3 p.m.); July 25 Odlin to Westcott Bay via Upright, Harney and President Channel (9 a.m.-3 p.m.), and July 26 from Westcott Bay across Haro Strait to Tsawout, BC (8 a.m.-12 p.m.). Email Stephanie at or call 360.378.2319 if you can help bring food or provide support from a boat.

Islanders from Shaw, Waldron, Lopez, Canoe Island, Orcas, and San Juan have hosted canoe stop-overs since 1989. This year’s Canoe Journey is generously supported by Friends of the San Juans, Roche Harbor Resort, National Park Service, San Juan County, San Juan County Parks, and community members of Lopez and San Juan Island. Click here to help share the event through Facebook.

Special donations to support the Canoe Journey stop overs would also be very appreciated. Click here to donate 

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Friends of the San JuansJoin & Help for Canoe Journey Stop-overs – Lopez July 24 & San Juan July 25

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

Shifting Shorelines Sea Level Rise Workshops

by Katie Fleming on June 8, 2017 No comments

The San Juan Islands are one of the most beautiful places in the world. And increasingly vulnerable to more frequent and extreme storms that will affect the waterfront. But with good planning, we can protect the people and places we love.

Join us for a workshop about the best ways to protect waterfront properties and our community from coastal flooding and erosion, and how to care for the important habitats that will see changes as a result of sea level rise. There are a variety of low-cost steps you can take and a range of solutions available to island residents.

Attend one of these community sea level rise workshops to learn the latest science for our region, local vulnerability mapping and adaptation strategies, and how to protect your shoreline while building community resilience. Coastal experts from Washington Sea Grant, Coastal Geologic Services and Friends of the San Juans will be presenting. We also want to hear what you value most and how you think our community should prepare.

Lopez Island: Thursday June 29, 10:30am-12:30pm, Woodmen Hall

Orcas Island: Thursday June 29, 5-7pm, Eastsound Fire Hall

San Juan Island: Friday June 30, 11am-1pm, Brickworks

The workshops are free and open to all. Food and drinks provided. RSVP appreciated:,, or 378-2319.

Please help us spread the word! Click here to download a poster and/or share on Facebook (Lopez Event, Orcas Event, San Juan Event).

These workshops are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Katie FlemingShifting Shorelines Sea Level Rise Workshops