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June 2021
Samish Tribal members, including Krista Davis, Sam Barr, Rosie Cayou, Bill Bailey, Jan flagg, and Cheryl Chatt. Tom DiChiara

Samish Tribal members at the opening of Orcas Landing., including Krista Davis, Sam Barr, Rosie Cayou, Bill Bailey, Jan Flagg, and Cheryl Chatt. Tom DiChiara.

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Grand opening at Orcas Landing

San Juan County hosted a long-awaited celebration and grand opening of the Orcas Landing Marine Interpretive Outlook on May 21, including the unveiling of a mural created by a team of young Coast Salish artists from the Samish, Port Gamble, and Cowlitz tribes.

The area also includes interpretive signage developed by the MRC: one panel takes viewers under the bay to learn about the local ecosystem and species, and the other shares traditional Coast Salish fishing methods and how important the culture and actions of fishing are to local residents of the San Juan islands today.

The event was attended by tribal representatives from the Samish Indian Nation, Tulalip Tribes and Lummi Nation, while the Chairmen of the Swinomish, Stillaguamish, and Suquamish sent their support. Representative Debra Lekanoff also attended and led portions of the event in partnership with San Juan County Council Chairperson Jamie Stephens. 

San Juan MRC would like to acknowledge MRC tribal representative Patti Gobin for her continued guidance, teachings, and patience in helping both the MRC and the County to tell the right stories of the first peoples of the islands. 

The story of eelgrass in Island County

screen shot from story map showing two seals in an eelgrass bed
Screen shot from Story Map showing two seals in an eelgrass bed. Image: Florian Graner
Island County Marine Resources Committee is pleased to announce publication of a new Story Map all about eelgrass! This story is more than ten years in the making.

Back in 2007, a concerned resident noticed that the eelgrass beds near her home were disappearing. She decided to take action, and soon community scientists embarked on a ten-year research project to learn about the health and distribution of eelgrass beds in Island County, Washington.

The Story Map covers what eelgrass is and its role in our ecosystem, the research that this community science team conducted, Island County MRC, and ways that you can help protect this critical habitat. It features stunning photography and relatable science in an immersive platform. Check it out here: Eelgrass Story Map

Bonus: Check out the Story Map today (June 4) and follow it up with their learning assessment for a chance to win a copy of Getting to the Water’s Edge. The last day to complete this step is Friday, June 4!

Jefferson MRC prepares for 2021 boating season

"Protect eelgrass anchor out for marine life": painted image of underwater eelgrass and marine life with boats above and inset of anchor digging into and damaging eelgrass
As more boaters head out on the water this summer, please keep an eye out for eelgrass beds to avoid anchoring in them. Damage to eelgrass beds affect threatened salmon, Dungeness crabs, herring, and many other animals, as well as the stability of our shorelines. 

In some areas, like the Port Townsend waterfront, Jefferson MRC maintains buoys to help boaters know where to avoid anchoring. This past month Jefferson MRC replaced the overwinter buoys with the clean no-anchor zone buoys to provide a visual cue for boaters of areas to avoid anchoring. 

In areas where there are no voluntary no-anchor zone buoys marking the eelgrass, we recommend you look for eelgrass before dropping anchor. Thank you for anchoring out!

Learn all about Voluntary No-Anchor Zones here. 

Member updates

This month we say goodbye to two of our valued MRC members: Randy Berthold is departing from the Island MRC, and Mike Sadler wraps up his time on the Snohomish MRC. Thank you both for your contributions and service! 

In Clallam County we’re happy to welcome new MRC coordinator Rebecca Paradis, who started June 1. Also in Clallam, the MRC interviewed and selected their 2021 project interns, including: 
  • Vita Olson, who will work on the Tumwater smolt trap project with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe; 
  • McKenzie Ginther, who will work on education and outreach, and 
  • Laila Greene, who will work on the green crab removal project, based in Neah Bay and conducted in partnership with the Makah Tribe and mentor Adrianne Akmajian. 

Northwest Straits Foundation Update

The Northwest Straits Foundation had a great year for partnerships! The Foundation’s staff rallied in 2020 by rolling up their sleeves and digging into field projects. Despite COVID-19, The Foundation continued monitoring, planting, shoreline restoration and public education activities. Learn more in the Program Highlights 2020.

Shore Friendly Living Episode 3
This video is the third in a series made by the Northwest Straits Foundation in partnership with other Shore Friendly programs across Puget Sound. The Shore Friendly program was created to provide shoreline landowners with resources to maintain and protect their investments while also protecting the fish and wildlife that need healthy nearshore habitats to thrive.
Shore Friendly Living Episode 3 - Restoring the Connection between Land and Water
Join our next Northwest Straits Commission meeting
June 25, 2021 - 10am-12pm

Salish Sea Stewards
Congrats, grads!

Congratulations to the 2021 Salish Sea Stewards graduates, who completed their last class on June 1! This group of 39 graduates are the largest cohort to complete Skagit MRC’s annual training program for volunteers interested in the marine environment.

The 2021 graduates are now ready to join forces with the current Salish Sea Stewards and find their match among the many volunteer opportunities where they can contribute their time and skills to benefit the Salish Sea! 
Learn more about Salish Sea Stewards.

Olympia oyster surveys

Students from Bellingham Technical College survey for oysters in Chuckanut Bay. Photo: Whatcom MRC
Late spring marks the time of year where daytime low tides reveal the intertidal Olympia oyster restoration sites carefully managed and monitored by our MRCs.
In Clallam County, the MRC works closely with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe on a site near Blyn. This past month, multiple surveys were conducted at the 1.6 acre plot to assess population and distribution within the restoration site. 

In Whatcom County, the MRC held their annual survey of their pilot sites in North Chuckanut Bay. They held the surveys over three days to allow Bellingham Technical College students to participate in COVID-safe small groups. 

These monitoring efforts are critical for the MRCs to adaptively manage their restoration sites and learn by getting muddy! Learn more about these two restoration and monitoring efforts here: Clallam and Whatcom

Spring gardening to help the bay

There have been lots of busy bees in Jefferson this spring, as new plants arrived at several of the MRC's local rain garden sites, and MRC members and community volunteers weeded, planted and mulched the rain gardens that filter stormwater runoff before it drains to Port Townsend Bay.

If you're in the area, check out the new native plants taking root at Chetzemoka Park and the Northwest Maritime Center. Learn more about Jefferson MRC’s rain gardens here.
Weeding and planting in the rain garden at Chetzemoka Park. Photo: Bob Simmons

Northwest Straits in the news

In other news

State of the Salish Sea – Kathryn Sobocinski. Salish Sea Institute, Western Washington University. May 2021. 
Invasive green crabs continue to spread in Washington, especially in coastal estuaries - KNKX, May 14, 2021 

The bright side of the green crab – Hakai Magazine, May 13, 2021

As in a pandemic, the battle against invasive species may well depend on early actions - Puget Sound Institute, May 24, 2021


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 © 2021 Northwest Straits Commission, All rights reserved.

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