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Breaking! Feds agree to more environmental scrutiny of sea walls, bulkheads on Puget Sound shoreline.

by Katie Fleming on November 13, 2019 No comments

We are happy to report a successful outcome to the bold legal action we took against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2018. They will now have to give more scrutiny to sea walls, bulkheads or other armoring in the Salish Sea. This is a very important ruling for forage fish – who feed the salmon, who feed the Southern Resident orcas. A big thanks to our partners Sound Action, Earthjustice, and Washington Environmental Council!

Click here for the full news story from the Seattle Times.

Photo above: Natural, sediment-enriched shoreline such as the Elwha River mouth is critical for fish and other animals that in turn feed larger predators, including orcas. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times, 2018)

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Katie FlemingBreaking! Feds agree to more environmental scrutiny of sea walls, bulkheads on Puget Sound shoreline.

Join us – 11/12 Scoping Meeting for Protective Regulations for Killer Whales

by Friends of the San Juans on November 7, 2019 No comments

Join us next week as we speak up for the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are holding a scoping meeting on Tuesday, November 12th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Brickworks in Friday Harbor (150 Nichols St.). Click here to see the full pre-publication notice.

This scoping meeting is being held to solicit public comments on whether, based on best available information, existing regulations and other measures adequately protect SRKW from the impacts of vessels and noise in the inland waters of Washington State and, if not, what actions NMFS should take. Click here to see a press release about the process from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Click here to see the Friends of the San Juans comment letter.

You can provide oral and written comments at the scoping meeting, and can also submit comments via email to OrcaRecovery.WCR@noaa.gov using the subject line “Comments on Protective Regulations for Killer Whales Scoping.”

Thank you for speaking up for the protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales!

Photo above by Mark Gardner.

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Friends of the San JuansJoin us – 11/12 Scoping Meeting for Protective Regulations for Killer Whales

Action Alert: Ask SJ County for a Moratorium on New Vacation Rentals

by Katie Fleming on October 31, 2019 No comments

Please join us in asking the San Juan County Council to impose an immediate moratorium on the issuance of new Vacation Rental Permits. The moratorium should remain in place until the county implements regulations that meet the public need. It will not effect currently permitted vacation rentals.

There are currently no county-wide limitations on the number of Vacation Rental Permits issued by San Juan County. While there are economic benefits to local residents from short term rentals, over half of the existing vacation rental permits are owned by out-of-county operators.

Community members have expressed concern about the impacts of unlimited vacation rental growth. These include erosion of long term and affordable housing, rural character, environmental sustainability, and the quality of neighborhood and community life.

In three Orcas Island community conversation gatherings during the summer and fall of 2019, participants were clear that a moratorium should be the first essential step.

We encourage you to click here and sign onto this petition requesting that the San Juan County Council pass a moratorium on the issuance of new vacation rental permits, effective immediately.

In addition, please join us this Tuesday, November 5th, at 9:00 a.m. in Friday Harbor at the County Council Meeting (55 2nd St.) to show support for this moratorium request. We hope that you will consider making a public comment or sharing a letter about your views on this issue.

Location of Vacation Rental Permits in San Juan County as of November 2018 pictured above. This map shows the location of parcels as assigned on vacation rental permits since 1990. Mapped locations are not the actual locations of rental houses. This is not an exhaustive list of permits and there may be vacation rental permits not shown on the map. This map does not include permits for hotels, motels, resorts, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts or illegal accommodations.

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Katie FlemingAction Alert: Ask SJ County for a Moratorium on New Vacation Rentals

Action Alert: End factory farmed fish. No open water net pens!

by Katie Fleming on October 11, 2019 No comments

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has issued a Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance for Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal (SEPA No. 19056) to farm biologically-engineered steelhead (aka Triploid Rainbow Trout) in the net pens Cooke Aquaculture used to farm Atlantic salmon.

Open water net pens are “Confined Animal Feeding Operations” that generate disease and pollution. There could also be another net pen collapse like the 2017 collapse that released over 300,000 diseased Atlantic salmon into the Salish Sea (pictured above).

Please join us in voicing concerns about this project. The public comment period closes at 5:00 pm on November 1, 2019. Here are the ways you can comment:

Email: SEPAdesk2@dfw.wa.gov

Online portal: https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/sepa/open-comments

Fax: (360) 902-2946

Mail: Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200

Click here to read the Friends of the San Juans comment letter.

We are asking WDFW to require a full environmental assessment and environmental impact statement under the State Environmental Policy Act to thoroughly address the risks of diseases, pollution, net pen collapses and further escapes, and the potential harm to the federally-listed as endangered Puget Sound steelhead.

Thank you for your voice and support!

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Katie FlemingAction Alert: End factory farmed fish. No open water net pens!

Citizen Scientists Needed for Forage Fish Surveys in the San Juans!

by Friends of the San Juans on October 4, 2019 No comments

Friends of the San Juans is seeking citizen scientists to help conduct beach surveys for spawning forage fish over the next two years. There will be a survey training session on October 26 from 9 am – 1 pm with researchers from Friends and Salish Sea Biological at the Old Town of Friday Harbor Fire Station (260 West Street).

Forage fish play a key role in marine food webs, supporting salmon, seabirds and marine mammals. However, additional information is needed on spawning habitats to improve the success of local salmon recovery efforts. We look forward to working with community volunteers to conduct this important survey work.

The training will begin inside and move to Jackson Beach for the field portion of the training. Transportation will be provided to and from Friday Harbor. Pre-registration is required. Click here to register or contact Tina Whitman at tina@sanjuans.org or 360-378-2319.

This free training workshop is hosted by Friends of the San Juans and the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee. Funding is provided by the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

We hope to see you there!

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Friends of the San JuansCitizen Scientists Needed for Forage Fish Surveys in the San Juans!

Friends Participates in Second Vacation Rental Community Conversation on Orcas

by Friends of the San Juans on October 3, 2019 No comments

Approximately 150 people attended the second Community Conversation on Vacation Rentals, held at the Orcas High School Cafeteria on Wednesday evening September 25, 2019. Introductions and a review of the agenda and process were presented by Diane Berreth. Yonatan Aldort, the appointed leader of the Vacation Rentals Working Group, delivered an opening comment. Five presentations were offered, including one by our Staff Attorney, Jennifer Barcelos—followed by community conversations and “voting” on goals and future vacation rental regulations. Click here to learn more and access Jennifer’s presentation. 

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Friends of the San JuansFriends Participates in Second Vacation Rental Community Conversation on Orcas

Watch our marine plastics education program in action!

by Friends of the San Juans on October 2, 2019 No comments

We enjoyed working with San Juan County students last spring during our marine plastic education and reduction program featured in this video produced by Carl Davis and the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee. Thank you so much to our project funder Keta Legacy Foundation and local artist Brook Meinhardt for helping us bring this important information to young people in our community.

Watch the video here.

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Friends of the San JuansWatch our marine plastics education program in action!

Celebrate 40 Years of Friends at a Gathering in the Islands or Seattle this Fall!

by Katie Fleming on September 12, 2019 No comments

Celebrate the power of people coming together to make change and protect what you love.

Enjoy seasonally inspired food and beverages while connecting with Friends!

Tickets are $50 per person and space is limited. Click here to register today: sanjuans.org/40th.

Celebration details:

Orcas, Sep. 22 Odd Fellows Hall, 112 Haven Rd., 4 – 6 pm, Keynote: Lawrence Solomon, Lummi Indian Business Council Secretary

Lopez, Oct. 5 Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, 4 – 6 pm, Keynote: Dave Blackinton, Samish Indian Nation Council Member

San Juan, Oct. 12 San Juan Island Yacht Club, 273 Front St., 4 – 6 pm, Keynote: Lorne Underwood, Wsanec Nation-Village of Tsawout

Seattle, Nov. 8 Washington Athletic Club, 1325 6th Ave., 5:30-7:30 pm, Keynote: Ken Workman, Duwamish Tribal member and descendant of Chief Sealth, Master of ceremonies Knute Berger “Mossback”

Can’t attend, but want to celebrate our 40th year? Click here to donate.

Friends of the San Juans protects and restores the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea for people and nature. We champion clean water, forests, food, and healthy communities by using science, education, and advocacy. Our innovative programs help the region’s environment and economy thrive.

We look forward to celebrating 40 years with you this fall!

Whale picture above by Chris Teren.

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Katie FlemingCelebrate 40 Years of Friends at a Gathering in the Islands or Seattle this Fall!

Fall Great Islands Clean-up – 9/28!

by Friends of the San Juans on September 12, 2019 No comments

The 2019 Fall Great Island’s Clean-Up (GICU) is coming this Saturday, September 28. This twice a year county wide cleaning event is when residents and visitor’s, individuals, businesses, clubs, school groups, parks and land trusts come together to pick-up litter and marine debris.

Friends of the San Juans helps organize the beach clean-ups for San Juan Island. Please contact Katie katie@sanjuans.org or call 360-378-2319 if you want to be assigned a beach on San Juan Island for this year’s clean-up. 

Friends is also organizing a drop-in beach clean-up at South Beach via Pickett’s Lane from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. if you’d like to join in there.

Pick-up your trash collection equipment on San Juan Island at the central meet location next to Bonnie’s Creative Passions at 635 Spring Street in Friday Harbor from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 28th. Bags, grabbers, safety vests and gloves will also be available at the San Juan County Public Works office at 915 Spring Street in Friday Harbor this week.

If you would like to be assigned to a road clean-up location on San Juan Island ahead of time, contact Aaron Rock at aaronrock87@gmail.com or 630-947-3194.

There will also be litter clean-ups happening on Orcas, Lopez and Shaw Islands. Visit www.plasticfreesalishsea.org/events for more information

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Friends of the San JuansFall Great Islands Clean-up – 9/28!