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September 2022
Three kayaks paddle on calm blue water near a kelp bed. The sky overhead is blue.
Jefferson MRC volunteers doing kayak-based bull kelp monitoring. Photo: Monica Montgomery
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Expanding European green crab trapping through collaboration

Five people standing in shallow water on a beach covered in eelgrass while one opens a crab trap with two crabs in it.
Trapping at Clayton Beach. Antonio Jones (NWSC), Brooke Friesen (NWSF), Haley Sherman (NWSF), Mike Bartlett (Upper Skagit), Larry Peterson (Upper Skagit). Photo: Allie Simpson
Northwest Straits Commission staff recently helped coordinate two new collaborative European green crab trapping efforts in Skagit County.
  • August 10-11: Northwest Straits Commission, Northwest Straits Foundation, and Upper Skagit Indian Tribe joined forces to set 30 traps at Clayton Beach and the neighboring Upper Skagit land.
  • August 22-25: Northwest Straits Commission helped coordinate a trapping survey of Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve. Over 700 traps were set by 23 trappers from 9 organizations: Northwest Straits Commission, Padilla Bay Reserve, Puget Sound Corps, Samish Indian Nation, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Veterans Conservation Corps, WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, WA Dept. of Natural Resources, and Washington Sea Grant.
Fortunately, no European green crabs were captured during either effort! Click here to learn more about our green crab efforts.

Jefferson rain gardens are growing!

Five people work in a garden next to a street.
Volunteers maintaining a rain garden. Photo: Monica Montgomery
Jefferson MRC hosted summer gardening events to water, weed, and monitor the 16 rain gardens throughout Port Townsend that they have planted over the years. Rain gardens filter stormwater runoff to remove contaminants before water enters the bay. The gardens also provide an educational opportunity for community members through signage that explain why the rain gardens were installed, how they work, and who maintains them.
Volunteer maintenance includes weeding and mulching gardens to keep them thriving and functioning well. The MRC is also gearing up for installation of their newest garden later this month, planned for Port Hadlock to improve water quality entering South Port Townsend Bay. Click here to sign up to help plant the new rain garden.

Island MRC teams up with Atlantis STEAM

Three kids stand on a dock looking at a remote operated vehicle in the green saltwater.
Atlantis STEAM camp members watch the underwater ROV at work.
Island MRC recently partnered with Sound Water Stewards to work with a group of students from the local high school ROV team Atlantis STEAM, who designed and built their own underwater ROV to explore the marine environment around Whidbey Island.
The underwater adventures took place at Coupeville wharf, where students were able use the ROV to explore habitat near the shore. The MRC and Sound Waters Stewards shared information about the species they came across, what those species might eat, and how they adapt to their environment. It was a great opportunity for the students to link their robotics skills to the world around them. Click here to learn more about the work of Island MRC.

San Juan MRC shows off local conservation projects

Five people stand near a road with trees in the background. One of them is pointing off into the distance.
San Juan MRC and Representative Rick Larsen visit False Bay
San Juan MRC representatives recently hosted a site visit with Representative Rick Larsen at False Bay to share information with him about their work to conduct outreach to beach visitors and their monitoring efforts with Friday Harbor Labs, which is looking to better understand the growth of algae in the Bay.
Representative Larsen spoke with them about ongoing marine resource conservation projects in the area and the MRC discussed how their federal funding supports their local projects. Learn more about San Juan MRC’s work in False Bay here.

Member spotlight - Natasha Cuomo, Snohomish MRC

Natasha Cuomo, Snohomish MRC
Natasha Cuomo was inspired to help restore and protect the environment after moving here from Macedonia and seeing the wealth of marine resources in the Pacific Northwest. She is a restoration ecologist representing the Tulalip Tribes on the Snohomish MRC. Her specialty is in restoring salmon habitat, especially Chinook and coho in estuaries and rivers.

Natasha appreciates the coordinated effort the MRC and its partners contribute to restoration and conservation projects, and values being a part of a team that includes interests and perspectives from different parties. She likes how the MRC delegates leadership of different projects to subcommittees of people who can best support those particular tasks.

Read more about Natasha...

Northwest Straits Foundation

Passport to Marine Adventure

The Northwest Straits Foundation is excited to share the new Passport to Marine Adventure travel game!
There are currently three coastal exploration sites in each of the seven Northwest Straits counties. As you visit them, you will earn points to redeem at local businesses for discounts on food, merchandise, or hotel stays. The app is updated weekly, so keep checking for new locations to explore! 

Click here or follow the QR code at right to learn more about the app.
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Thanks WCC!

Alyssa Morales, Lexie Baslington, Madison Coleman from the 2022 WCC crew. Photo: Jeff Whitty
This year the Northwest Straits Commission hosted a WA Conservation Corps (WCC) crew to assist with green crab trapping. Between April and their last day on August 25, the crew set over 2,100 traps and removed 23 European green crabs from Samish and Padilla Bays. We want to give them a big THANK YOU for their hard work, positive attitudes, and wish them best of luck with their future endeavors!
Two people look at educational materials on a table under a pop up canopy.
Jeff Whitty at the Northwest Straits Commission booth at Fidalgo Bay Day. Photo: Allie Simpson
Skagit MRC’s 18th annual Fidalgo Bay Day at Fidalgo Bay Resort was a great success with 20 participating organizations and activities for all ages. The event kicked off with a welcome from Samish Elder Rosie Cayou James and remarks by Jay Lind from Skagit MRC.

Crafts, displays, and games drew people in to the booths, and a chowder competition among four local restaurants, Taylor Shellfish oysters, and a no-host salmon barbeque contributed a taste of the Salish Sea. Thanks to all the organizations and businesses that participated!
Read more about the event and watch for the next one on Skagit MRC’s website.

Whatcom MRC finds healthy kelp

A yellow kayak sits on the saltwater above a kelp bed. There is a rocky shoreline in the background.
Whatcom MRC surveying bull kelp. Photo Eleanor Hines
Volunteers for the Whatcom MRC kelp surveys were pleased to find that the kelp beds they monitor annually looked very healthy this season, and the beds appear larger than they did in previous year’s surveys.
The MRC surveys beds at Aiston Preserve on Lummi Island, Cherry Point, and southwest Lummi Island. Click here to learn more about Whatcom MRCs kelp surveys.

Upcoming events

September 10-16 Plastic Matters. Join Whatcom MRC in a weeklong plastic litter pick up competition, September 10-16, as part of Whatcom Water Week. 

September 10-18, 2022 – Whatcom Water Week. A weeklong event celebrating local water resources. Local businesses and organizations countywide host their own events.

September 23, 2022 – New rain garden installation. Jefferson MRC and WSU Extension are seeking volunteers to help plant a new rain garden. Click here to learn more and sign up.

September 24, 2022 – Great Islands Clean-up. 10am-12pm. San Juan MRC is helping coordinate a beach cleanup on Lopez, Orcas, San Juan and Shaw island.

September 30, 2022 – Northwest Straits Commission meeting. 10am-12pm via Zoom. More information.

October 28, 2022 – Northwest Straits Commission meeting. 10am-12pm via Zoom. More information.

NW Straits in the news

New app launched for local adventurers – Port Townsend Leader, August 16, 2022

Fidalgo Bay Day connects families to marine environment – Anacortes American, Aug 16, 2022

Representative Larsen visits False Bay and County Fair – The Orcasonian, August 19, 2022

Fidalgo Bay Day offers fun and education – Skagit Valley Herald, Aug 20, 2022

In other news


The Northwest Straits Commission provides funding, training and support to seven county-based Marine Resources Committees (MRCs) to assist with their work protecting and restoring local marine resources. Learn more about the Commission on our website at



This work has been funded wholly or in part by the US EPA. The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use. 

Copyright © 2022 Northwest Straits Commission, All rights reserved.

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