research & maps

helping our community make sound choices about planning and restoration efforts

shoreline inventory

Scientific research and habitat assessments from Friends and its partners help inform our regional decision-makers and government agencies so their growth management decisions can be based on current science.

forage fish spawning habitat survey

Friends leads efforts in San Juan County to map beach spawning forage fish, including surf smelt and Pacific sand lance, and assists with exploratory surveys for pacific herring spawning areas.

eelgrass health

Friends and agency partners completed the first countywide mapping of eelgrass. Current projects monitor eelgrass beds in priority bays to assess their location, condition, and impacts from other environmental factors.

bull kelp distribution

feeder bluff mapping

shoreline modification

In 2009, Friends surveyed all 400+ miles of the county’s marine shorelines, cataloging and mapping over 3,500 individual shoreline modifications such as hard bulkheads, docks, and buoys. Used with habitat inventory results, this data helps identify and prioritize shoreline restoration opportunities. Friends completed a new shoreline survey in 2019 and conducted a change analysis for hard armor modifications. With significantly more armor going in than coming out, and much of it unpermitted, our shorelines are in need of improved protection.

sea level rise vulnerability

Friends partnered with coastal scientists to develop a countywide evaluation and mapping of the infrastructure, developments, and habitats that are vulnerable to increased erosion and flooding from rising sea levels. Results are being used by public and private property owners and communities to increase resiliency.

San Juan County Sea Level Rise Inundation Maps 

Sea Level Rise for San Juan County Additional Resources

Healthy beaches for fish and people project reports

restoration and protection planning

Strategic Salmon Recovery Planning – Restoration and Protection Project Prioritization – Final Report (2017)

Pulling It All Together for Salmon Recovery Final Report (2012)

Analysis of Shoreline Permit Activity 1972-2005
Spatially explicit report on shoreline permit activities and trends for San Juan County.

San Juan County Nearshore Impact Assessment
This report summarizes the Countys direct impacts to nearshore marine species and habitats through ownership and management of shoreline infrastructure.

Soft Shore Restoration Blueprint and Appendix
Restoration prioritization for modified beaches in documented and potential forage fish spawning habitat in San Juan County.  In partnership with Coastal Geologic Services.

MacKaye Harbor Communty Nearshore Restoration Feasibility Report
Restoration prioritization and community engagement for impacted intertidal and coastal wetland habitats in the MacKaye Harbor region of Lopez Island. In partnership with Coastal Geologic Services.

San Juan County Habitat Protection Blueprint Project
Identification of most important shoreline habitat sites for long term protection using existing conservation strategies such as acquisition, easement or tax incentive program.  Geographic Systems modeling effort that incorporates biological, land use, landscape and landowner willingness information into the analysis.

vessel traffic and fossil fuel export in the Salish Sea

other reports

It wasn’t until 1979 that San Juan County got a comprehensive growth plan and that was largely due to the Friends of the San Juan’s being there to advocate for the shoreline and the ecosystem. Since then, there have been constant waves of pressure by developers. Friends have risen each time, fighting to protect this fragile and precious place.

Liza Michaelson

member, San Juan Island