King Tides or Plastic Tides?

The creatures that call these islands home need your help! If you enjoyed a stroll on the beach after the last set of king tides, you might have noticed an influx of debris and trash. During extreme high tide events, plastic waste and styrofoam float to the surface and are carried up further onto the land.

A 6 foot styrofoam cube pulled off of Low Island, which sits just south of Yellow Island. Image credit: Matthew Axling, Yellow Island Steward, The Nature Conservancy

If you’ve been looking for a way to give back to our beautiful shorelines, wildlife, and your island home, now is a great time to hit the beaches and help clean up the debris before it can spread and further damage marine ecosystems.

Gather your friends and family, bring gloves and a trash bag, and make a day of it!

Sign up today to adopt a beach or contact Jess Newley, Community Science and Education Director at Friends of the San Juans for more information.

Pro tip: All of the waste facilities in San Juan County accept beach trash for free!

Email Katie Fleming, Solid Waste Coordinator, for more info: [email protected]

Image: Styrofoam Tire, Matthew Axling, Yellow Island Steward from The Nature Conservancy. Four of these have washed up on Yellow Island just this winter and are also frequently pulled off of the beach near Point Caution on San Juan Island.

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce plastic use and its impacts, check out Plastic Free Salish Sea.

They have many fantastic tips, toolkits, and resources, and are always looking for more stewards to help keep our islands and sea plastic free!

Plastic Free Salish Sea is a partnership program with San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship and Marine Resources Committee, Friends of the San Juans, and Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District.  

I look at the Friends of the San Juans as sort of like a guard dog. They are the first ones to bark if there is any danger to anything that needs protection. They are the ones that make the first sounds that say “Wake Up!”

Shaun Hubbard

member, San Juan Island and Seattle