Friday, April 30, 2010

San Juan Preservation Trust Survey Results

If you took the survey or if you did not, you may be interested in the learning the results. Click on this link: Here is a summary of the responses

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fisherman Bay Benefit Concert on Lopez Sat. May 1

Dana Lyons, country and folk singer known for his sharp wit, especially on environmental themes, will be performing this coming Saturday, May 1, at the Lopez Community Center at 6:00 pm. The evening, at which Lyons will also release his new CD "Three-Legged Coyote," is a benefit concert for "Save Fisherman Bay," a new project of KWIAHT and WSU San Juan County Beach Watchers. Admission by donation ($15 and up suggested,) and hors-d'oeuvres will be served. Come on over and hear about Russel's plans for the Fisherman Bay project.

Dana will also be performing at the following island locations:

Wed. Apr 28 Shaw Community Center 7:00 pm
Fri. Apr 30 Waldron Island School 7:30 pm
Sun. May 2 Doe Bay Resort/Orcas 8:00 pm
Mon. May 3 Fri. Harbor House/SJI 7:00 pm - fund-raiser for the Whale Museum

Check out these links for additional information:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Long Live the Kings Needs Volunteers

Long Live the Kings might be partnering with the SoundToxins project in helping collect water samples for analysis. If any Beach Watchers are interested in helping out, please contact Mike O'Connell at for the details. Mike is the manager of the salmon hatchery on Orcas.

Long Live the Kings
Glenwood Springs Salmon Hatchery
Eastsound, WA 98245
(360) 472-1205

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Short Run to the Sea

The Stewardship Network of the San Juans is a network of private and public organizations whose vision is a healthy, thriving ecosystem in the San Juan Archipelago from land to sea. Their new campaign, Short Run to the Sea, will help inform the public about where our "used" water goes and the effects on the environment. The website currently features five articles on water in the San Juans.

For more information click on

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Earth Day Clean-up on Lopez

It was trying to rain off and on all morning, but a dozen or so hardy souls gathered in Lopez Village to get bags and trash grabbers before heading off to various parts of the island to collect beach and road trash. When the group reassembled about 3 hours later, they filled Nick Teague's truck with a dozen or more bags containing a little bit of everything! Beverage and fast-food containers, bags and wrappers of all sizes and shape, and huge quantities of polystyrene ranging from chunks as big as a breadbox down to individual pellets. Everyone found a surprising number of popped balloons and shotgun casings, as well as some toys, odd containers and parts of who knows what, and plenty of pieces of polypropelene rope. But the all-pervading theme of the morning was plastic, plastic, plastic! Micro- or macro- it's on every beach in our islands, and it just sits there until it is removed.

The good news is that as of April 22, expanded poly-styrene will be banned from the San Juans for take-out food containers. The new Lopez market (which just opened yesterday,) not only will be complying with the ban, but they also seem to have removed polystyrene plates and cups from the picnic supplies section of the store. Bravo!

The folks in the photo above include BLM Manager Nick Teague, Lopez Land Bank Steward Tim Clark, BLM intern Kirsten Anderson, who organized today's event, and some members of the Lopez Island Youth Conservation Corps, (including Josef Blanc-Ridings from this years B.W. class - sorry Josef - I didn't realize you were half-hidden when I snapped the pic.)

While I was collecting trash along the Fisherman Bay tombolo, two different groups of people came up to ask what I was doing, accepted an empty plastic bag from me, and collected their own bagful of trash. Every little bit helps!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Green Living Websites

In recognition of Earth Day on April 22, here are a few websites that will peak your interest and provide information how to lead a healthier life and help the planet, too.

Are you living a sustainable life? -- See Your Carbon Footprint --

The Green Guide - a reference guide to the best eco websites and planet-friendly companies --

Resources for smarter home performance and the latest government news and rebates --

How to "green" just about anything - if you want to green and find eco-friendly facts, tips, and products, go to:

and finally --

This has eco products and services, plus an impact calculator --

Earth Day Cleanup at South Beach on San Juan

This is a wonderful activity for Earth Day. Meet at the main South Beach parking lot by 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 17. You will receive a collection bag and data sheets. Plan to spend until noon. This event is sponsored by the Friends of San Juans and the San Juan Island National Historical Park.

The San Juan Islands in 2016

What's your vision for the islands in 2016? Three open houses will be held to learn the results of a survey and review a draft plan for our systems of parks, trails and natural areas in the islands. The events are sponsored by the San Juan County Parks, the Land Bank and The Trust for Public Land.

San Juan: April 22, 4 - 6 p.m., Mullis Senior Center, 589 Nash St.
Orcas: April 23, 4 - 6 p.m., Orcas Fire Hall, 45 Lavender Lane
Lopez: April 26, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Woodmen Hall, 4102 Fisherman Bay

For more information:

2010 Sustainable San Juans

Sustainable Living Fair--Orcas Island

May 1 & 2, 2010

Please join us on beautiful Orcas Island to celebrate, honor and learn. We’ll have great music, the presentation of the 2010 Good Steward Awards, engaging speakers, field trips and displays by organizations and businesses committed to creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable San Juan Islands.
Russel Barsh will speak about the Indian Island Project and introduce the Indian Island Research and Outreach Team on May 1st.
Russel and Madrona will lead a beach walk on Indian Island at 1:00 on May 2nd. Everyone is welcome to join them!

Please view the full schedule by clicking the link below:

Marine Naturalist “Gear Up” Workshop – April 22

Attention Naturalists! Celebrate Earth Day this spring by joining The Whale Museum for its annual Marine Naturalist Gear-Up. This one-day workshop will be held on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at the Grange Hall in Friday Harbor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This event is offered as continuing educational training for naturalists already working in the field, graduates of the Marine Naturalist Training Program or Beachwatchers, and members of the Salish Sea Association of Marine Naturalists (SSAMN). Topics and speakers for the session include: a presentation by Anna Hall from the University of BC about her research with local harbor porpoises, an introduction to the Snohomish County PUD tidal energy project by Jason Wood of The Whale Museum, a presentation about the K.E.L.P. kayaker education program by Karrie Cooper of The Whale Museum, and a discussion about captive orcas by Howard Garrett of Orca Network The day will conclude with a general meeting of SSAMN open to all current and future members.

If you are interested in attending the Gear-Up, please call The Whale Museum (360) 378-4710 ext. 23 for more information. The registration fee is $25. Registration is available now through The Whale Museum website, but will also be available at the door.

Founded in 1979, The Whale Museum’s mission is to promote stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research. In addition to providing exhibits, the Museum also provides programs including: the Orca Adoption Program, Soundwatch Boater Education, Marine Naturalist Training, San Juan Islands Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and the Whale Hotline. The Whale Museum can be found on-line at:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

May BOATER WORKSHOPS sponsored by Friends of the San Juans

Friends of the San Juans are sponsoring free workshops for boaters during the first week on May. Their goal is to raise awareness among the boating community of the importance of eelgrass and other components of our marine environment.

Here are the times and locations:

San Juan Island Wed. May 5 7:00 to 9:00 pm Mullis Senior Center
Lopez Island Thu. May 6 12:30 to 2:30 pm Lopez Library
Orcas Island Thu. May 6 7:00 to 9:00 pm Orcas Senior Center

The following presentions will be given at the meetings:

"What's Here to Protect?" by Karrie Cooper, Stewardship Network of the San Juans
"Leaving a Light Boat Print," by Chris Wilke, Puget Sound Alliance
"Best Practices for Nearshore Habitats," by Tina Whitman, Friends of the San Juans
"Protecting Marine Mammals," by Kari Koski, The Whale Museum

The events are free and open to everyone. Please try to attend one of the meetings, and tell your boating friends about them.

For more information, call FRIENDS at 378-2319.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The San Juan Preservation Trust Needs Your Opinion

The board of trustees and staff of The San Juan Preservation Trust are currently reviewing SJPT's strategic objectives. The results of this survey will guide their activities over the next several years. They are not asking for any personal information in this survey, and it should only take 4-5 minutes to complete. A summary of responses will be posted on their website at by the end of April 2010. The results of this survey will be incorporated into strategic discussions taking place in mid-April 2010.

To take the survey go to the main page and scroll down until you see the survey link:

WSU President Elson Floyd's Visit to the Islands

On April 1, Washington State University President Elson Floyd visited the San Juans. Beach Watchers met with him for two hours at Lime Kiln State Park. Shann organized an event that was interesting and highlighted our involvement with various groups. By the number of questions he asked, President Floyd appeared very engaged and interested in our activities.

Ted Schlund, the new San Juan Marine Area Manager (aka the head state parks guy for the islands), explained what he and his staff do to maintain all the state parks’ facilities in the San Juans. Tina Wyllie-Echeverria discussed her work with the various fish studies. Both Ted and Tina stressed how much BWs did for their organizations.

Barbara Bentley and Ann Farrell, both BWs class of 2009, discussed the marine health observatory projects at Indian Island on Orcas and the Port of Friday Harbor. Dennis Linden, BWs class of 2006, and Erin Corra, park staff, described volunteering at Lime Kiln. We then walked down to the lighthouse to talk about projects at the park as well as on other islands, and other BWs, including Don Jarrell, Linda Thompson, Cynthia Hubbard, Andrea Wieland and Karen Kuster (all BWs class of 2009), talked about their experiences volunteering at the park. It was an enjoyable and well-spent two hours. Thanks, Shann for all your work and to all the speakers.

Also, read about President Floyd’s impressions on his blog:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Salish Sea Plastic Sampling

San Juan County is supporting research and education on plastics pollution. With the guidance of Jen Kingfisher of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center several volunteers have been learning to sample marine micro plastics. Susan Muckle sampled Lopez and Kim Secunda, Margot Shaw, Marcia Spees, Janet Alderton, Molly Coxe and Nancy Alboucq took samples from Fishing Bay and Cresent Beach. According to Jen, the beach at Fishing Bay is among the 'worst' she has seen in terms of the quantity of plastic accumulation.

After collecting the samples, they are sorted into size and 'type' and then counted. Some of the different types of plastics are: foam, filaments, film, fragments and nurdles(pre-production plastic 'pellets'). See the following link for more information on nurdles and plastic pollution.

35 beaches in 12 counties in 8 days are sampled twice a year. The results will be sent to Jen in Port Townsend in preparation for the Citizen Science Summit on Plastic Pollution in the Salish Sea at Fort Worden on May 14-15.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Welcome 2010 Beach Watchers!

The 2010 Beach Watchers course began on March 25 at the San Juan Firehouse with sixteen new students. This year's class members are:

From San Juan Island: Peter Goddu, Margaret Langlie, Paulette Brunner, Margaret Johnson, Steve Porten, and Chris Curtin.

From Orcas: Win Rhodes, Sarah Wixon, Ronald Kinner, and Cynthia (Rusty) Johnson.

From Lopez: Kitty Dolan, Josef Blanc-Ridings, Ann Goss, Alexandra (Dandy) Porter, Earnest Clifton, and Kay Keeler. (Yea! six from Lopez!)

A warm welcome to all!

There will be five classes this year on San Juan and Orcas, four on Lopez, and one on Shaw! (Yellow Island too.)

In addition to the presenters who regularly speak to the class, Geneva Mottet and Barbara Bentley from the '09 class, and Quinn Freeman from the '08 class, will each do a presentation, and the class will also hear representatives from Ecology, the Wild Fish Conservancy, Tulalip tribes, and other organizations.

As Shann noted in a recent email, previous class members are always welcome to attend the '10 presentations, and especially graduation (on SJI,) the afternoon of May 13.