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March 2021

 Carter Point at sunrise. Photo: Eleanor Hines

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Kelp: Our Underwater Forests

Clallam MRC recently hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Tom Mumford, as they focus on providing information to the community about all things kelp.

The webinar is the first in a series, and focused on the importance of kelp in our local ecosystem, and its significance as a marine resource. 
If you weren't able to join live, you can still watch on our YouTube channel by clicking the video. 

Internships Available

Clallam MRC

Clallam MRC is seeking candidates for their spring internship program. The interns will work closely with MRC members, as well as Makah and Lower Elwha tribal biologists on projects to protect and restore marine resources. 
If you or someone you know might be interested, explore the MRC website to learn more about the program and the work of the Clallam MRC. Apply by March 19.

Veterans Corps internship opportunity

The NOAA WDVA Veterans Conservation Corps Fisheries Internship Program is a Washington based internship focused on marine science and stewardship of coastal resources. The internship is a partnership of the WDVA Veterans Conservation Corps, NOAA and the Northwest Straits Commission. 
The intern will have the opportunity to work in the field, from home, and at Northwest Straits Commission facilities, with coordination and support provided by the VCC and NOAA.
Learn More

Leadership Council Presentation

Kelp bed at Ebey's Landing. Photo: Tom Mumford
Kelp was the theme of the afternoon during the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council meeting February 18. The Northwest Straits Commission  presented the Puget Sound Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan (Kelp Plan) along with an overview of work we are doing with the MRCs to protect kelp in the region. 

This presentation was part of our ongoing effort to shine light on the importance of kelp to our Salish Sea Ecosystem and the Kelp Plan as our guiding path forward for collective research and management action to protect and restore this vital species. 

Click here to learn more about kelp and the plan to protect it.

2021 Stewardship season launch

The Skagit MRC's annual Salish Sea Stewards training kicked off in February with 41 registrants, mainly from Skagit but since the training is offered virtually there are participants joining from Snohomish, Kitsap, and King counties. There are now 272 trained Salish Sea Stewards that have contributed over 35,000 hours of volunteer service to Salish Sea projects to date! 

The North Sound Stewards program in Whatcom is also gearing up for 2021, with 73 volunteers already signed up to participate this year.

Kudos to all of the volunteers who contribute to the many projects and programs throughout the Salish Sea!

Click here to learn more about Salish Sea Stewards or the North Sound Stewards

Member updates

New Island MRC member Alex PlumbThe start of the year brings turnover at MRCs, as member terms end and new faces join. This month we say goodbye to Whatcom MRC member Kristin Murray, Skagit MRC member Kathy Thornburgh, and staff from the Northwest Straits Commission, Katie Harris. 

Filling some of the vacancies from the end of 2020 are: 
  • Island MRC members Jill Lipoti, Ken Collins and Alex Plumb;
  • Snohomish MRC members Brienne Townsend, Andrew Gobin, Michael Kundu; and
  • Jefferson MRC members Solenne Walker, Janette Mestre, and new Jefferson alternates Liz Hoenig Kanieski, Joanie Hendricks.
Welcome to all of the new members!

Northwest Straits Foundation Update

New Story Map Launched
Screen shot of Northwest Straits Foundation Story Map
The Northwest Straits Foundation is excited to introduce a brand new Story Map highlighting derelict gear removal efforts, nearshore restoration projects and partnerships. This interactive Story Map was created in partnership with the Samish Indian Nation.

Click here to view the Story Map in a full-screen format, or view it on the Foundation's home page at

The San Juan MRC’s Plastic Free Salish Sea campaign launched a new feature this month. Local residents are invited to Adopt a Beach, pledging to take time to clean litter from the beach at regular intervals. These beach stewards help keep San Juan County’s shorelines and beaches beautiful.

Click here to learn more and choose a beach.

Job Opportunity

If you or someone you know would like to work with a local Marine Resources Committee, there’s an opportunity now in Clallam County! This position coordinates the Clallam MRC, helps to coordinate and communicate about habitat restoration projects, and serves on the North Pacific Coast Lead Entity and NPC MRC. It’s ideal for someone who likes marine and fresh water, people and science. Closes March 10, 2021.
Apply Now


March 16, 4pm. San Juan jet noise forum – A science symposium with Salish Sea Institute.

March 17, 4pm. Shore Friendly workshop – Introduction to coastal processes and habitats of Island County, presented through the NW Straits Foundation and Island County’s Shore Friendly programs. Register here.

March 26, 10am. Northwest Straits Commission monthly meeting, via Zoom.

April 15, 12pm. Northwest Straits Initiative 101A primer on the Northwest Straits Initiative, the roles and responsibilities of the Commission, Foundation and MRCs.

August 28, 11am. Fidalgo Bay Day. Skagit MRC’s signature event is tentatively set for Saturday, August 28.
Cover image of San Juan MRC annual report
Read San Juan MRC's 2020 Annual Report. Learn about the MRC, the projects, 2020 accomplishments, and what the MRC has planned for the future.

Northwest Straits in the news

Small fish, big barriers: A county confronts climate change  - Everett Herald, February 7, 2021

In other news

Humans are making oceans noisier, harming marine life - Time, February 5, 2021

Can Oregon stem the loss of complex kelp ecosystems - Oregon Public Broadcasting, February 25, 2021

Washington facing massive loss of kelp, study finds - KING5, March 4, 2021

Watch important eelgrass restoration work in Deep Bay - Bowen Island Undercurrent, February 8, 2021

Ocean acidification: The thread to Washington shellfish, and how the industry is adapting - KING5, February 19, 2021 

Member spotlight
Tim Ellis

The Northwest Straits Commission recently welcomed new member and Snohomish MRC representative Tim Ellis. Tim is a retired IT manager with a business degree who turned towards life at the beach by becoming a Beach Watcher in 2015. He's the Beach Watcher project lead for Dept. of Ecology water sampling for Snohomish County (BEACH), and the lead at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park for youth education and beach naturalist activities.

Each year he grows 100+ garlic plants, harvests 10,000 mason bees from 50 boxes, plinks on and tunes pianos, and tries to raise his bowling average. He bicycles everywhere he can in the rare non-inclement weather in Puget Sound. Welcome, Tim!


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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