Wednesday, December 30, 2009

There is no such thing as a Sea Gull

Marine Science Lecture Series

What, there is no such thing as a sea gull? On the evening of Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 pm biologist and writer Thor Hanson will engage you in the interesting facts about these opportunistic birds. You might not remember all the fascinating details or identification features for the dozen or so gull species we have, but you should walk away more fond of these birds and probably will no longer make the faux pas of calling them sea gulls.

Gulls belong to the Laridae family. They will eat just about anything, from fish or small rodents to ferry French fries and potato chips and a salt excreting gland enables them to drink either fresh or salt water. They nest in large, densely packed, and noisy colonies where they lay two to three speckled eggs. Larger gull species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, while two years is more typical for small gulls. They can live to be 15 years old and some have been known to live to be over 25 years old.
The 2009/10 Marine Science Lecture Series was created to inspire the general public and to highlight the amazing fish and wildlife of our region. Lectures are free. Please park in the upper parking lot at Camp Orkila. Shuttle service from the parking lot to the talk is available before and after the lecture. The 2009/10 Marine Science Lecture Series is presented by program partners The SeaDoc Society and YMCA Camp Orkila. It is made possible through generous sponsorship by Tom Averna (Deer Harbor Charters), and The Gould Family Foundation and co-sponsorship by Barbara Brown, Eclipse Charters, The Kingfish Inn, Shearwater Sea Kayak Tours, West Sound Marina and Jim and Kathy Youngren.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

House Passes Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Reauthorization Act

December 8, 2009
Washington, D.C. — The House of Representatives passed the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative Reauthorization Act (HR 1672), legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), by voice vote yesterday. This legislation renews the Congressional mandate for the Northwest Straits Commission, a grassroots organization that works to restore and protect marine habitat in Northwest Washington. HR 1672 has widespread support from the local community, including letters of support from elected officials in every county in which it operates.

Click link to read full article.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another Conference: STORMING THE SOUND," La Conner, Jan 29.

"Storming the Sound" is an annual one-day conference for environmental educators and students of environmental education from North Puget Sound, including San Juan County. The event will be held at Maple Hall, La Connor, on Friday, January 29, 2010.

Keynote speaker, David Henry, who works with the Pew Charitable Trust, will speak on: "Arctic Waters - Protecting Life in the Arctic." Breakout sessions will follow on topics such as: school gardens, citizen science, rain gardens, boat-based education, and more.

Registration is free and includes lunch, but a $10 donation is requested at the door to help defray expenses. Here's their website:

SOUND WATERS One-day Conference, Feb. 6, 2010

Plan now to attend Island County Beach Watchers annual SOUND WATERS conference on Feb. 6, 2010. Held at Coupeville High School, the theme of the one-day conference this year will be: "Puget Sound Starts Here: Why Act? What Works"

Following a keynote address by Dr. Nathaniel Scholz of NOAA, entitled: "Stormwater, Salmon, and the Health of Puget Sound," there will be two sessions of presentations during the morning and one in the afternoon, with a lunch break and time to view a gymnasium full of exhibits.

Several SJC Beach Watchers attended the conference last year and found it very informative and helpful. (Talk to Claire, Shirley, Beverly, Susan, Andrea or Quinn to find out more.) We should be able to carpool so only a few people will need to drive.

Important: The most difficult part of the conference is that you can only attend one presentation per session, and it will be hard to choose. Also, the most interesting presentations fill up quickly. Registration forms are already being distributed in Island County, and will be available on line on January 4. Sign up as soon as you know you can go, to have the best choices. For descriptions of the presentations (and registration forms after January 4,) go to:

This is a really fun event! If you decide to attend, please reply as a comment to this entry, so we'll know how many will be going. Thanks.

Ways of Whales Seminar

If you want to learn more about whales, this seminar is for you. It is sponsored by Orcanet and will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2010, from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Coupeville Middle School Performing Arts Center, 501 S. Main St., Coupeville. There are great speakers and includes current information on salmon restoration as well.

Speakers will be:

Dr. Mike Ford, NOAA Fisheries, will speak on recent Southern Resident Orca DNA paternity research. Who are the fathers within the Southern Resident Orca Community? (other than Ruffles!)

Dr. Fred Sharpe, Alaska Whale Foundation, will entertain with stories and photos of his amazing research on the feeding habits of humpbacks in SE Alaska, including cooperative bubble net feeding.

Howard Garrett, Orca Network, will present an update on the status of the Southern Resident orcas, and a quick "Orca 101" to set the stage for the day.

The day will be end with Another Dam Panel, with Michael Garrity, Washington State Conservation Director for American Rivers, and Robert Elofson, River Restoration Director for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, to discuss the important issues of dams, salmon restoration, and keeping our Resident orcas fed.

Workshop cost is $25. Lunch will be available on-site (lunch price & choices on the sign up form). Contact Orca Network at 360-678-3451 or Orca Network ( ) for more information.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Report on local salmon research

A presentation will be given by KWIAHT at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts.

Saturday January 9th
4:00 pm
Admission: By Donation
Food and drink appropriate for the occasion, and salmon related art!

Hundreds of thousands of juvenile salmon spend each summer on the south end of Lopez. Kwiaht and Lopez volunteers are studying what they eat, how long they stay, where do they come from, and what can we do to improve their chances of survival. It`s been a year since Lopez volunteers reported their initial findings to the community: juvenile salmon come here from every major watershed in western Washington and BC. And much of what salmon were eating was insects! This summer local volunteers caught five times as many juvenile salmon, and have learned much much more about their diet, behavior, and needs. Be among the first to find out what new has been learned! Listen, enjoy some food with us, and join the adventure.

Indian Island night time low tide beach walk

On December 1st Russel and Madrona led a few brave souls around Indian Island on a low tide at 8:30PM. It was a clear beautiful night, full moon and 38 degrees. We saw some amazing marine life. Here a a few pictures that Madrona took.

The first is a panorama of some of our team working their way along the rocky edge of Indian Island with headlamps to guide them.

A young Black-Clawed Crab, one of the relatively rare crab species in our waters; it is a member of the brightly colored Xanthid family of crabs. Adults can be orange to neon blue in color, and tend to be very aggressive if disturbed. These crabs prey on clams, snails, and barnacles, crushing their shells in the crab’s strong claws.

The Frosted Dirona, a delicate milky nudibranch or “sea slug” of the rocky inter-tidal zone that feasts on small snails and bryozoans, is a year-round resident of Indian Island.

Melibe leoninus is a free-swimming nudibranch that captures its prey—small crustaceans such as shrimp—by throwing its tentacled hood over them. Melibes appear to migrate into East Sound in September and lay their eggs on eelgrass beds around Indian Island. As this night walk demonstrated, many stay until winter!

We also saw kelp crabs mating; and a very large number of sunflower stars hunting for clams in some of the sandier patches around the island. “A good time was had by all,” with a clear sky and full moon directly overhead!

Port of Friday Harbor Monitoring Project

The Port of Friday Harbor has officially approved the monitoring project. Russel Barsh of Kwiaht, Shann and Beach Watchers have been busy planning for the start of the project in January. So far we have “walked the docks” to find suitable sampling locations, identified equipment we will use, and began putting together species field guides and checklists for all volunteers to use. Our next meeting will be on January 13 at 1 p.m. We will meet at the top of the docks near the Port offices spending an hour or so there then head to the FH Labs for discussion and maybe some work in the shop.

This is a large and important project, so we need as many BWs as we can get. It is also going to be a lot of fun—plus you will become a pro at identifying marine life. If you have not let Russel know that you are interested in the project, please email him at
Looking forward to see you on the 13th.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sign Up for SeaDoc's E-Course on Ecological Principles

SeaDoc's free Top Ten Principles e-course will cover the key ecological principles for designing healthy coastal ecosystems. You'll get an informative email every three days, each covering one of the ten ecological principles that provide a big picture view of how to create and safeguard a healthy ecosystem. You’ll also be able to use on-line forums to discuss with other educators how to most effectively teach these principles. These principles can serve as a foundation for educating the public and for designing a healthy Salish Sea and other coastal ecosystems for future generations.

The 10-part e-course will delivered by email every three days, starting January 4, 2010.

For more information or to sign up, visit

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lopez Meeting with Prospective Beach Watchers

Shann and a few Beach Watchers met at the Lopez Library today for an informational meeting about Beach Watchers and the 2010 class. Eight interested Lopez residents dropped by for tea and cookies during the afternoon, and had a chance to learn more about the program and ask questions. There was quite a bit of interest shown by the visitors, as Shann gave a synopsis of the activities we've been involved in this year, and a couple of the attendees seemed ready to apply by the end of the meeting. Geneva Mottet, Beverly Zapalac and Susan Muckle were able to share some of their enthusiasm for the program, and Ulanah McCoy also came by and had a chance to talk about some of her activities. Shann hopes to have one or two similar meetings on Lopez later in the winter, as well as on other islands. If you know of any SJ islanders you think might be interested, please share contact info with Shann. Susan and Bev are very excited at the prospect of additional Beach Watchers on Lopez!

The 2010 class will begin on March 25 and continue till May 13, and as in 2009, sessions will rotate between SJI, Orcas, Lopez, (and maybe even Shaw!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beach Planting at Shoal Bay on Lopez: Final Step in Beach Restoration Process

In Mid-October Friends of the San Juans oversaw the removal of a tidegate that had partially blocked the entrance channel to the Shoal Bay Lagoon since the 1980s. More than 15 truckloads of concrete, steel and fill were removed from the site over a period of several days, the channel was deepened, and the banks on either side were re-shaped to more natural and sustainable contours.

On a beautiful November 11 morning, Tina Whitman and Jana Marks from "Friends," and Beach Watcher Susan Muckle, completed the final stage of the project by planting about 700 plugs of native plants and grasses on both sides of the bank. In addition to these new plants, which will help hold the banks in place, Tina was encouraged to note how many other grass seedlings were already sprouting in the area. Established plants from further down the beach will also spread seeds and rhizomes into the newly graded area.

The lagoon is home to Jones Family Farm's shellfish beds, and owner Nick Jones stated how pleased he was with the outcome of the project. The lagoon is still adapting to the changes, and will continue to do so for awhile, but it "has a more natural feeling to it now," according to Nick.

A lot of behind the scenes engineering and environmental preparation by Friends' staff preceded the actual removal of the tidegate, and the organization will continue to monitor the beach and lagoon on an ongoing basis. But all indications are that this project has been a big improvement to the Shoal Bay ecosystem.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Extended Deadline for Comments to NOAA on Vessel Regs

NOAA has now extended the deadline for comments to January 15, 2010.

Comments may be submitted by:
Federal e-rulemaking Portal:
Mail: Asst. Regional Administrator
Protected Resources Division
Northwest Regional Office
National Marine Fisheries Service
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115

Further information can be obtained from Lynne Barre, NW Regional office, 206-526-5745; or Trevor Spradlin, Office of Protected Resources, 301-713-2322.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Big Step Forward. We now live in the Salish Sea!

On Friday, October 30, the State Board of Geographic Names voted 5 to 1 in favor of adding "Salish Sea" as one of the approved names for the body of water that includes Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia, and Strait of San Juan de Fuca. The existing names will not be replaced, but Salish Sea will be an added "umbrella" designation to refer collectively to all of these ecologically-vital waters.

This is not the end of the process, as the name still awaits approval by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, as well as its Canadian counterpart. But this could come as early as next month.

The salmon and orcas know no geographic names nor national boundaries for the waters they migrate through. If we are to have any success in restoring their endangered habitat, it is critical that we all come to view these waters as one unified sea, and work collectively across borders and cultures to protect it.

Putting this new name on the map is a welcome first step. No longer will we have to describe ourselves as located between Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia. Instead, we can tell people that our beautiful islands are the heart of the Salish Sea!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Water Quality Monitoring expands to Friday Harbor

Russel Barsh has compiled and tabulated the data collected in 2009 from Fishing Bay in East Sound. As plans progress for Beach Watchers to continue this work next year, Russel is simultaneously expanding this monitoring program to the Port of Friday Harbor. Russel met with a number of Beach Watchers at the Friday Harbor labs on Tuesday, Oct. 20. After a preliminary discussion of plans for next year, the group moved to the FH Port and observed and collected plants and animals from the docks. Preparatory work on this project will continue, and active monitoring will begin in the spring.

Meanwhile Russel, on behalf of Kwiaht, is taking preliminary steps to establish a similar monitoring program on Lopez, hopefully in conjunction with the 2010 Beach Watchers class.

Micro-Plastics Monitoring on local beaches

On Monday, Oct. 19, Jen Kingfisher from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center met with Beach Watchers at San Juan Island's Jackson Beach. In conjunction with the Department of Ecology, the PT Marine Science Center is sampling beach debris in all seven Washington counties that border the U.S. portion of the Salish Sea for "micro-plastics." -- the small fragments that often are ingested by marine animals. Jen's paraphernalia included buckets, sieves, and garden trowels, which she used to demonstrate the sampling protocol. Three 1-meter square sections of the beach are chosen at 30 foot intervals from which sand and other beach debris are gathered. These bucketfuls of material are then shaken through different-sized sieves to collect the human-made debris that remains, after the organic material is removed. The debris is then analyzed and counted by category. The sampling is being done twice a year - with samples from all beaches collected the same week in October, and again in March. Samples and data sheets are forwarded to Jen for further analysis and recording.

After the group practiced the techniques by collecting samples from three quadrates on Jackson Beach on Monday, Jen left the sampling gear behind to use on other island beaches. Kim Secunda and Susan Muckle collected samples from Orcas and Lopez, and the San Juan Beach Watchers met in the rain at South Beach on Wednesday.

The data collected will provide a baseline for determining the quantity and types of plastics that are showing up on Salish Sea beaches, as a first step towards finding local solutions to this world-wide problem.

Everyone is encouraged to help with the 2nd sampling session in March; more information will be posted when the date gets closer.

Chemistry 101 - a workshop with Russel Barsh

Several Beach Watchers met on Orcas on Oct. 15 as a follow-up to the Fishing Bay monitoring the group has been doing this year in East Sound. At this first of two workshops designed to evaluate the monitoring already done and plan for next year, Russel devoted a good portion of the time to an in-depth look at the molecular structure of anionic and non-ionic surfactants, to help us understand why they work the way they do, and why they are so harmful to the marine environment. Russel feels that it is important that we as "citizen scientists" have a solid understanding of the work we're doing and its scientific foundation. The day ended with a look at the different kinds of research equipment that can be used to measure surfactant concentration in the water. The second workshop on October 29, also at the Orcas Fire Station, will continue this discussion and lead into planning for next year's research. All Beach Watchers are welcome at the second workshop, starting at 10 am.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


After the Hedrick Smith Evening at the Orcas Center in August I went away with more questions than answers. The event was very informative in many ways, but was lacking in answers to the questions of 'what can we do to help'. I think that was the general feeling from the rest of the audience as well. Everyone wanted more information on how to help, what products to buy, or not buy. Here is a link to the 'Friends' newsletter that has a good article on surfactants. There are lists of good resources and a list of the 'dirty dozen'--top product ingredients to avoid.

Please read the 'Toxins in our Water" article

If you have any information that may be helpful, please comment on this blog. If you use products that you have researched and know are safe, please share that information so we can all be better stewards of the earth.

Thanks, N. Alboucq

GREAT NEWS regarding California's sustainable seafood bill!

Success! Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed California's Sustainable Seafood Bill (AB 1217) into law!

"The bill was sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and we were pleased to work with Assemblyman Bill Monning in shaping this important legislation. At a time when the oceans are in crisis, commercial fishermen are struggling and fisheries are in decline, it's more important than ever to support those who fish responsibly. This bill will ensure that fishermen get the assistance they need to seek official certification of their fisheries and bring sustainable seafood to market." - quote from the Monterey Bay Aquarium newsletter.

Click on these links to read more about the new bill.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NOAA Public Hearing on Whale Protection Proposal

On Monday, Oct. 5, NOAA will hold a public hearing at the Grange on San Juan Island from 7 to 9 pm for public comment on the proposed vessel regulations to further protect the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Plan to attend if you can.

The final deadline for receipt of public comments by NOAA is Oct. 27.

Indian Island monitoring - analysis of 2009 and planning for 2010

In case you haven't already received this information, Russel Barsh has scheduled two workshops in October for volunteers and teachers interested in the Indian Is. Marine Health Observatory program in Eastsound. The first on Oct. 15 will focus on what has been learned from this year's monitoring, and include discussion of the quality and reliability of testing methods. The second workshop on Oct. 29 will be a review of this year's data and what it means for the health of the Indian Island ecosystem. Discussion will include planning for next year's program. Both meetings will be at the Eastsound fire station from 10 am to 1 pm

Puget Sound Partnership TV Ads

The Puget Sound Partnership will be airing a number of TV ads with the theme: "Puget Sound Starts Here." You can view the ads on UTube - here's the link:

Shann wishes they had chosen to use The Salish Sea instead of Puget Sound, but the message is good.

Upcoming SEA DOC Lectures

The SeaDoc Society has announced it's 2009-2010 Lecture Series. Dates and topics are listed below. All lectures are at 7 pm at Camp Orkila. Call 376-3910 for further information.

Oct 13: The Western Grebe: a vanishing icon, by Joe Gaydos, SeaDoc Society

Nov 10: Whales, echolocation and noise, by Jason Wood, The Whale Museum

Dec 8: Sharks of the San Juan Islands, by Gene Helfman, U of Georgia
Family night: free dinner at 5 pm, program starts at 7 pm

Jan 12: There is no such thing as a sea gull, by Thor Hanson, Author and biologist

Feb 9: Tracker dogs: saving killer whales, by Katherine Ayers, U of Washington

Mar 9: Super Suckers: Giant Pacific Octopus & other cephalopods, by Tim Carpenter,Seattle Aquarium - Scott Veirs

As a result of publicity about John Ford's report on the salmon population and the Northern and Southern Residents, Scott has written a comment on his blog - Orcasphere His link will be added to our site as well.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Resident Orcas & Salmon Study by John Ford

On the Discovery News website is an article with the results of the most recent study by John Ford, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and others on how the decline or increase in the salmon populations affect both Northern and Southern Residents. In particular, El Nino years have had the most dramatic effect on the residents.
The article can be viewed at

John Ford, with Kenneth Balcomb from the Center for Whale Research and two other colleagues, reported the findings this month in the online edition of the journal Biology Letters .

Thursday, September 24, 2009


MISM has been funded for another two years (through June 2011) and Nahkeeta NW will continue as the program coordinator working under contract with WDFW.
San Juan County has 14 beach watcher volunteers who participate in this program. Hopefully everyone has been successful in monitoring the beaches they have chosen and entered the information on the Nahkeeta website for Ann Eissinger. There were some computer glitches at the beginning of the summer that she believes have been taken care of.
Ann is asking for comments and suggestion from the volunteers that will help to improve the MISM program, make it a rewarding experience for everyone and provide useful information.
You may either use this forum for your comments, or send them directly to me at
Personally, I have enjoyed this monitoring very much. Not only have I learned about the invasive species that we are looking for, but I have also learned a lot about the native species that live on the beaches in our islands. I have seen many interesting animals that I have never come across before, and probably wouldn't have come across unless monitoring. I have several questions and comments for Ann, and I hope that if you do, you will post them or send me an email.
Ann is working with Padilla Bay National Estuarine Reserve to develop specialized workshops that focus on Species ID of certain taxa such as tunicates, whelks/drills and crabs. She will send out an announcement once the programs are set up.
Nancy Alboucq
SJBW-MISM coordinator

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Puget Sounds Starts Here--New Website

A new website will be a "clearing house" for volunteer opportunities to educate and engage in the recovery of Puget Sound. The website was organized by ECO Net, part of the Puget Sound Partnership

Please check it out frequently as organizations will be posting events and volunteer opportunities at any time.

Travel with WSU Extension Beach Watchers to Africa

Beach Watchers will join Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) next year for their "Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari" tour! This 12-day trip will depart September 12, 2010. If we fill our group, non-profit Beach Watchers will receive a cash donation from OAT. Travel with local friends and benefit Beach Watchers too. Here is a link to this incredible tour:

For more information about how to sign up, or to ask questions, please call: Sandy Dubpernell at 360-678-3765 or Linda Ridder at 360-579-2521.

Naming of Salish Sea

Interesting article from The Bellingham Herald.

If you care to write regarding the adoption of the name, here is the info. It is not too late as the meeting will be on October 30.

Caleb A. Maki
WA State Dept. of Natural Resources
Engineering Division - Resource Mapping Section
WA State Board on Geographic Names

Phone: 360-902-1280
Fax: 360-902-1778

Friday, August 28, 2009

Summary of August 25 CAO Workshop

For those of you who were unable to attend the recent County Council Workshop on the Critical Areas Ordinance Update, here's a link to an article that gives a good summary of the meeting. It's from

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SJC Beach Watchers Cruise on Research Vessel

Cheryl Kummer, James Lobdell, Cynthia Hubbard, Geneva Mottet and Susan Muckle had a great day last Saturday aboard the M/V Indigo cruising the waters of Guemes Channel and Rosario Strait. Along with Beach Watchers and marine volunteers from Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties, as well as oceanographers from the U. of Washington in Seattle, we spent the day analyzing the density, nutrient values, plankton, and other components of the water at various locations off Fidalgo Island. The trip was part of the "Ocean Inquiry Project" (OIP) and was co-sponsored by COSEE-OLC. (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, and Ocean Learning Communities.) To make some sense from this alphabet soup, Here are links to these organizations, and a short paragraph explaining what they do:

"COSEE-Ocean Learning Communities is a partnership funded by the National Science Foundation between the University of Washington College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences and College of Education and the Seattle Aquarium. In 2008, the Ocean Inquiry Project, joined the Center after recieving a partnership grant from NSF. COSEE-OLC is a thematic center with the long-term goal of developing models of Ocean Learning Communities in the Northwest region and sharing these models with the COSEE Network.

"At COSEE-OLC we are actively building a community of scientists, marine volunteer organizations, formal and informal educators and interested citizens to form an ocean learning community."

In addition to enjoying a beautiful day on the water and getting to know beach naturalists from surrounding counties, the trip introduced us to oceanographic sampling techniques and the importance of this research in monitoring the quality of our ocean environment.

If this opportunity is available again in the future, we would encourage everyone to sign up!

Friday, August 14, 2009

New County Internet GIS Maps

At the County Fair the County Public Works Department is demonstrating its new GIS mapping system. Here is the link: All photos were taken in June 2008. It is a great improvement over the current system. The photos are clear and you can make copies.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last daytime low tide cycle of the season

August 17th and 18th
Russel Barsh would like volunteers to help with the last intertidal surveys and fishing for the season. Both days will begin at 9:30 at Fishing Bay.

Next week is also a good time to either begin, or continue your Invasive Species surveys and record your data on the MISM website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Save the Date

An evening with Hedrick Smith. Producer of FRONTLINE'S 'poisoned waters' documentary. He will be sharing stories and video from his latest film.

Place- The Orcas Center
Date-Sunday, September 13th
Time - TBA

Monday, August 3, 2009

Poisoned Waters

I'm sure many of you have already seen Hedrick Smith's 'Poisoned Waters' special. For those of you who have not, below is a link to view the PBS website or you can view the video right here. I finally got around to watching it and found it very moving. I encourage you to take the time to watch it and to pass the link on to others who might be interested. The more people who see it, the better.

Vanishing Salmon in Alaska

Here is a link to an article I read in the Associated Press. Not good news, but thought you might be interested.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beach Watchers Reunion

Several Beach Watchers from all four classes attended the picnic yesterday at South Beach. The food was wonderful and plentiful. Updates on various activities from some of the areas scientists and marine advocates were given. Thank you Shann for arranging a great event. I hope others who attended will add more information so those that missed it will be informed. I hope this is an annual event.

County Meeting Scheduled for CAO

The County Council has scheduled a workshop on possible revisions to the county’s Critical Areas Ordinance for August 25 at 1 p.m. in the San Juan Island Community Theatre.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Critical Areas Ordinance

As Beach Watchers it is important for us to educate ourselves on the CAO. The following link to the San Juan County website contains all the documents you will need to better understand the potential new regulations. Follow the link:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Orcas Library Fair

Volunteers are needed to help with the Beach Watcher Booth at the Orcas Island Library Fair, Saturday August 8th. Please contact Ulanah McCoy if you are interested in volunteering your time. Ulanah needs several volunteers during the fair, 10am-3pm, 1 person to help set up at 8:30am and 1 person to help break down at 3pm. You may contact Ulanah at or 376-3427.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Have Kayak? People for Puget Sound Needs You to Survey Spartina

PPS is asking for volunteers with kayaks to be trained to locate and record Spartina infestations. Training sessions will be held in July through mid-September. After training you will be qualified to go out on your own. For more info check the website: or call Rachel Benbrook, trainer and project coordinator, at 360-230-1353.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beacher Watchers needed to staff BW Booth at County Fair!

The San Juan County Fair is coming up on August 12-15. We need volunteers to help staff the booth! It is a great time to celebrate community and wonderful way to let others know about Beach Watchers and about stewardship of our marine environment. Pencil in the dates and watch for an email soon to come.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Whale Museum Lecture - July 15 - Southern Resident DNA Analysis

The Whale Museum's 2009 Lecture Series continues with a talk from Michael Ford of NOAA on Wednesday, July 15 at 7 pm. In his presentation entitled "Who's Dad?, DNA-based Paternity Analysis in Southern Resident Killer Whales," Michael Ford will be discussing the DNA parentage studies on the endangered Southern Resident orcas.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July Beach Watchers Booth on Orcas

Marcia Spees did a fabulous job putting together a Beach Watcher information booth at the Orcas Saturday market on the 4th of July. Bruce Hall, Ulana McCoy, and Kim Secunda all volunteered to help Marcia educate the public. It was a big success.
Pictured are Nancy Alboucq, Marcia Spees and Bruce Hall.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tue. Jul. 28 Beach Watchers Get-together on SJI

Potluck. Details of time, location, and program to be announced

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SJPT Work Party

San Juan Preservation Trust Work Party

July 16th Buck Bay Preserve, Orcas Island

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Friday June, 26th
Fieldwork day: Hogback Preserve Work Party, Orcas Island