Monday, January 25, 2010

Volunteer opportunity..Derelict oyster gear to be removed from Crescent Beach!

Over the next couple of months, the Land Bank will be helping to remove the derelict oyster rearing gear from our tidelands at Crescent Beach Preserve. Bill and Char Bawden, who operate Judd Cove Oysters, spent 10 years putting in the gear, however they are transitioning to a new system that will utilize just a fraction of the area.

In the interest of clearing the gear from the near-shore area as quickly as possible, we have scheduled three work days and are inviting volunteers (like you!) to lend a hand.

The work is pulling sections of pvc pipe out of the sand and staging them in piles high on the beach to be loaded into a truck. We need to work with the tides, so please note the dates and times listed below. If you have questions, please give me a call at 376-3384. Also, if you know others who may wish to help, feel free to pass this message along.

NOTE: Do not attempt to remove any of the gear prior to our scheduled work day(s). The Bawden’s will be on site to direct our efforts and be sure that we do not disturb the oyster growing areas currently in use.

Many thanks, and hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 6th 1-4
Saturday, February 20th 1-4
Saturday, March 6th 12-3

Ruthie Dougherty
San Juan County Land Bank
350 Court Street #6
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-4402 360-298-0052

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Styrofoam Ban: What's the Next Step?

It's official: On January 5 the County Council banned styrofoam take-out food containers from county restaurants and food stores. Spearheaded by SJI resident Doris Estabrooks, whose five- year campaign finally came to fruition, the ban will go into effect in both the county and the town of Friday Harbor on Earth Day in April, 2010. Honored as the San Juan Journal's "Citizen of the Year" for her dedicated efforts, (see SJJ, Jan 5, 2010,) Doris now plans to continue her work to educate the public on the cumulative and harmful effects of disposable plastic on the environment, and particularly to the health of both marine life and humans. Plastic certainly has appropriate and beneficial uses, but as we all know through our beach clean-up activities and involvement with the Port Townsend Micro-Plastic research project, almost all the man-made ocean debris we find, (aside from driftwood,) is some kind of plastic.

The styrofoam ban is a good step, but where do we go from here, especially when eating out? So many restaurants now serve enormous portions - enough for 2 or 3 people! Sharing a main course with a family member sometimes works, but otherwise how do we get those leftovers home without using a disposable container?

One suggestion: buy a "Tiffin." The word comes from India and refers to the metal lunchboxes in use there for workmen and students. But they are available here too, and a very handy solution to the take-home problem. Made of good quality stainless steel in single or double layers, with sturdy clamps, lids, and handles, their cost is reasonable. And they're available in the islands as well. "Compost-it" in Friday Harbor sells them - see their on-line website (below) for pictures and details. (You have to search through a few pages of their on-line catalog under the "Home" category, but it's on about the 5th or 6th page.)

Gourmet Galley in Friday Harbor said they would also look into carrying them, (encourage them if you're in there,) or check elsewhere in the islands, or on line. They're not small enough to fit into a purse, but definitely into a shopping bag or backpack. Like many other "good for the environment" steps, it might take a little while to get used to remembering to take one with you when you go out to eat, but as with our reusable grocery bags, it will soon become a regular habit.

Indian Island Project Meeting

The Indian Island Marine Health Observatory Project is making good progress. Sheldon, Marcia, Margo and Nancy met with our new fabulous leader, Barbara Bentley. Russel Barsh made a quick appearance at the end of the meeting so that we could brief him on the decisions we had made. We worked on and approved our Mission Statement, passed our informational trifold on to Russel who will approve it and take the next step to get it printed, and we began to fill the sign up sheets for various Indian Island projects.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Missing Sea Lions & El Nino

An article in The Seattle Times recently mentioned that several hundred sea lions have disappeared from San Francisco Bay. Where did they go? Apparently, they headed north to the Sea Lion Caves (where else?) in Oregon. One thought is that because of warmer waters off the California coast (one of the El Nino characteristics) that one of the sea lions' favorites foods - anchovies - has migrated north. So the sea lions are just following their stomachs! In addition, the number of sea lions at Heceta Head in Oregon has doubled to 5,000. Wonder if Washington will also see an influx.