Latest News

May 19 is Endangered Species Day – protect what you love!

by Katie Fleming on May 18, 2017 No comments
Endangered Species Day is May 19th. 113 marine species are formally listed as being at risk or vulnerable to extinction here in the Salish Sea. Here are five things you can do to help!
  1. Help preserve our remaining natural shorelines that provide essential habitat for marine species. View our latest video here to learn more.
  2. Purchase sustainably-harvested seafood at your local supermarket or favorite restaurant. Click here to learn more from Seafood Watch.
  3. Use beneficial landscaping techniques such as rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs and permeable paving to help reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and reduce runoff into ditches and storm drains.
  4. Do your part to dispose of unused medicine and chemicals properly. Never dump into household toilets and sinks or outside where they can get into ditches or storm drains.
  5. Help with the marine plastics issue and speak up for ditching plastic bags in San Juan County. Some of our local stores continue to use thicker plastic bags (considered reusable) after the single-use ordinance went into effect on May 1. It’s important these businesses hear from customers that we’ll happily support their move to stop using plastic bags at checkout. They care about what customers want – call today!
  6. Support Friends of the San Juans’ Endangered Species Advocacy work to make sure these species have their voice heard in decisions that impact their home.
We at Friends of the San Juans work every day to protect the species and places we all love. Thank you for your support!
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Katie FlemingMay 19 is Endangered Species Day – protect what you love!

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!

THE IMPACTS WOULD BE TREMENDOUS! HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THEM:

  • 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.

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PLEASE SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS ASKING THE USCG TO:

  • 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.

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COMMENTS ARE DUE AUGUST 9, 2017

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):

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USCG-2016-0916-0058

Email: SectorPugetSoundWWM@uscg.mil

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 SectorPugetSoundWWM@uscg.mil

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MORE INFO

The Proposed Rule Document

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USCG-2016-0916-0058

About Vendovi Island Preserve

http://sjpt.org/places-projects/preserves-easement/sjpt-preserves/vendovi-island-preserve/

The Campaign to Save Vendovi Island

http://sjpt.org/places-projects/capital-campaigns-underway/save-vendovi-island/

About Jack Island Preserve

http://sjpt.org/places-projects/preserves-easement/sjpt-preserves/jack-island-preserve/

Map of NOAA-designated Critical Habitat for SRKW

http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/protected_species/marine_mammals/killer_whales/SRKW-CH-Map.jpg

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!

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!

Check out our new “Living with the Shoreline” Guide

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

Click here to view the new “Living with the Shoreline” guide.

Waterfront properties in the San Juan Islands are part of a beautiful, complex, and increasingly fragile marine ecosystem that supports salmon, rockfish, seabirds, whales and human communities. Decisions made by owners of shoreline property can influence more than just their land. As one property owner noted “I wondered what can I, as one small person, do to help all of the animals that live in the water? It turns out that the orca feed on salmon, and salmon feed on the tiny little fish that spawn on my beach. For this reason, I will do all I can to keep our shoreline natural.”

To help provide information about cost effective and natural approaches to protecting waterfront property, Friends of the San Juans recently completed a new “Living with the Shoreline Stewardship Guide.” The colorful and accessible guide provides extensive technical information and resources on key topics of interest including vegetation management, coastal erosion and flooding, and the protection and restoration of habitat. Local landowners and properties are also highlighted throughout.

The shoreline guide will be mailed to all waterfront property owners in February. Everyone, not just waterfront landowners, can learn something new about our island community. Click here to download the guide, or pick up a copy at the Friends of the San Juans office 650 Mullis St. Suite 201 in Friday Harbor.

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Friends of the San JuansCheck out our new “Living with the Shoreline” Guide

Action Alert: Comment on the Oil Transportation Safety Bill!

by Friends of the San Juans on January 29, 2017 No comments

The 2017 Legislative Session is now in full swing and oil transportation is a hot issue. Despite the critical gains around public disclosure and preparedness measures, significant gaps remain that put our communities and waterways at risk of an oil spill or other such disaster.

In response, Representative Farrell (46th) and Senator Carlyle (36th) introduced the Oil Transportation Safety bill (HB 1611 / SB 5462). Highlights of the bill include:

  • Ensuring the oil industry pays in the case of a spill or other disaster;
  • Updating the funding for prevention, preparedness and response;
  • Protecting Puget Sound and the Salish Sea from increased oil barges and other vessels from the Kinder Morgan Pipeline;
  • Protecting against refineries turning into transshipment terminals; and
  • Strengthening oversight of pipeline safety.

This is a great time to engage and show your support!

Two hearings have been scheduled on the bill – Thursday, February 2nd at 10 a.m. in the Senate and the following Monday, February 6th at 1:30 p.m. in the House.

You can also call the committee members (at the numbers below) and tell them that this is a key piece of legislation they should support. Click here to send an email to your legislators as well.

The Oil Transportation Safety Bill is a key step to holding the oil industry accountable and ensures that Washingtonians are put first.

Given the Trump Administration’s support of the oil industry, it is now more important than ever to make sure that we here in Washington are holding the line against fossil fuels. We can do this!

We will also be talking about the oil transportation safety bill in person at the Salish Sea Stands on Capitol Hill Day on February 13 – join us there too! There will be a shuttle bus for islanders from Anacortes. Click here for more details about the 13th.

Senate Energy, Environment, Telecommunications Committee (for SB5 5462):

Senator Ericksen; (42), 360-786-7682doug.ericksen@leg.wa.gov

Senator Sheldon: (35), 360-786-7668tim.sheldon@leg.wa.gov

Senator Carlyle; (36), 360-786 – 7670Reuven.carlyle@leg.wa.gov

Senator Brown; (8), 360-786-7614sharon.brown@leg.wa.gov

Senator Hobbs; (44), 360-786-7686steve.hobbs@leg.wa.gov

Senator Honeyford; (15) 360-786 – 7684, jim.honeyford@leg.wa.gov

Senator Ranker; (40) 360-786- 7678, kevin.ranker@leg.wa.gov

Senator Wellman; (41) 360-786- 7641, lisa.wellman@leg.wa.gov

 

House Environment Committee (for HB 1611):

Rep. Fitzgibbon (34), (360) 786-7952joe.fitzgibbon@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Peterson (21), (360) 786-7950strom.peterson@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Shea (4), (360) 786-7984matt.shea@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Short (7), (360) 786-7908shelly.short@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Dye (9), (360) 786-7942mary.dye@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Fey (27), (360) 786-7974Jake.fey@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Kagi (32), (360) 786-7910ruth.kagi@leg.wa.gov

Rep. McBride (48), (360) 786-7848joan.mcbride@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Taylor (15), (360) 786-7874david.taylor@leg.wa.gov

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Friends of the San JuansAction Alert: Comment on the Oil Transportation Safety Bill!

Canada Approved the Kinder Morgan Project – What’s next?

by Friends of the San Juans on December 2, 2016 No comments

Concerned by the national election results and now the Canadian government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Transmountain Pipeline expansion? We are too.

It is clear that our work at Friends is more difficult and more necessary than ever. With both threats and opportunities before us, let’s stand together to protect this place and the communities we love!  Here’s how you can help us defend our waters.

1. Join in on an upcoming community conversation with Friends’ board and staff. Please join us for a discussion about how together we can use local actions in the San Juan Islands to create positive change in 2017 and beyond. There is a lot we can do by using our collective power to create innovative, lasting solutions for our climate, energy, housing, food, wildlife, and communities. We’d love to hear from you and get your ideas as well.

San Juan: Mon., Dec. 12, 10:30 am -12 pm, Friends of San Juans office, 640 Mullis Street

Orcas: Wed., Dec. 14, 12:30-2 pm, 376 Conference room, 596 Main Street

Shaw: Wed., Dec. 14, 4-5 pm, Shaw Community Center

Lopez: Thu., Dec. 15, 10:30-12:00 pm, Lopez Library, 2225 Fisherman Bay Road

If you are unable to join us, feel free to call so we can talk. Or, host a similar conversation of your own and let us know if we can help.

2. Call on Washington’s Governor and federal delegation to communicate our opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the Canadian Federal decision makers and B.C. Provincial officials – click here to keep telling Canada no on the Kinder Morgan Pipeline! Canadian officials have made a decision that threatens the environment and economy of Washington. The massive Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline threatens our shared waters, shared economies, shared climate, and the Southern Resident orcas. The pipeline would result in a nearly seven-fold increase in dangerous tar sands oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea. We need to keep telling Canada that we will not accept the 800% increase in the risk of a 20,000 barrel or larger oil spill over the next ten years in Haro Strait/Boundary Pass. It’s not over yet, and Friends remains steadfastly engaged with the issue with the many organizations and tribes who oppose the project. We will keep you posted on all opportunities that need your involvement and voice.

3. Support Friends’ Safe Shipping program. Sadly, the Kinder Morgan approval wasn’t a surprise. While Friends is dedicated to preventing fossil fuel export from degrading the Salish Sea, we also need to be prepared for increased shipping so we can be proactive about protecting our San Juan Island waterways and Salish Sea from vessel traffic risks. We are currently working to press for oil spill prevention and advocate for a clean energy future; achieve legal protections; improve habitat management; and reduce threats to vulnerable species. Click here to make a gift to the Safe Shipping program and our annual fund—all dollars received before the end of the year will be matched, up to $25,000.

Thank you for your support and your voice! Together, our voices make a difference!

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Friends of the San JuansCanada Approved the Kinder Morgan Project – What’s next?

Plastic Bag Ban Passes in San Juan County!

by Friends of the San Juans on October 26, 2016 No comments

On October 25th, the San Juan County Council passed an ordinance that will ban single use plastic bags in the county as of May 1, 2017! Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen – Friday Harbor and Spring Street International middle schoolers who testified at the hearing (and pictured above), Friends supporters who signed our petition, all three councilmen who voted yes, Mark Herrenkohl (Solid Waste Program Administrator), the Solid Waste Advisory Committee and the many other community members who rallied around this important ordinance that will help protect our marine environment!

Click here to learn more about the ordinance.

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Friends of the San JuansPlastic Bag Ban Passes in San Juan County!

Shell Pulled Its Oil-By-Rail Project in Anacortes!

by Friends of the San Juans on October 19, 2016 No comments

Shell Puget Sound Refinery announced on October 6 that it is dropping its plans to construct a crude oil-by-rail facility at March Point near Anacortes. This proposal will no longer threaten communities across the Northwest by increasing the risk of derailments, devastating explosions, and toxic spills in Padilla Bay and the larger Salish Sea.

This decision follows the stand taken by Friends and our partner organizations to successfully appeal Skagit County’s determination of non-significance in 2014, which then required the project to undergo an environmental impact study. Thousands of citizens showed up to hearings, submitted public comments, and rallied to voice concerns about the dangers of transporting highly volatile Bakken crude in trains.

This win is a testament to the power and the dedication of community members.  Here in the Pacific NW, we have the wind behind us in fighting fossil fuels. When we appealed the inadequate environmental review, many said it was unstoppable. By joining together, we proved we can protect ourselves from Big Oil!

If you’re in Seattle on October 26, join in the “sHell No Celebration” at 6:30 p.m at Peddler Brewing Company.  Click here for details and to RSVP.

Check out this article, West Coast Deals Four Major Blows to Big Oil, for more details on how communities are successfully standing up to the dangers of fossil fuel export.

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Friends of the San JuansShell Pulled Its Oil-By-Rail Project in Anacortes!