Senator Murray, Rep. Larsen Reintroduce Legislation to Reauthorize Northwest Straits Commission

On June 18, 2024, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Rick Larsen reintroduced legislation to reauthorize the Northwest Straits Initiative. Reauthorization will recognize the Initiative as a federal program and acknowledge the importance of locally-driven marine conservation. To reach the milestone of bill introduction is a testament to the fantastic work of Marine Resources Committees, the Northwest Straits Commission and Foundation, volunteers, and the numerous Tribes, agencies, NGOs, and industry partners who engage with us in our mission to protect and restore the marine resources of the Northwest Straits.   

The removal of pilings at Jackson Beach. Photo by Frances Robertson

Pulling Pilings, Preventing Pollution

Last Fall the San Juan MRC was instrumental in helping remove the derelict remains of a pier at Jackson Beach on San Juan Island. In total, 132 creosote soaked pilings were removed from the nearshore area helping improve water quality, increase habitat for forage fish and make the shoreline more aesthetically pleasing.  This removal project is just one of many restoration efforts impacting the health of the Salish Sea and greater Puget Sound area. Read more about how the Puget Sound Partnership's Nearshore Credits Program supports projects like the restoration at Jackson Beach. 

Read the 2023 Annual Report

MRC members have been hard at work protecting the Salish Sea. Read about the highlights from the past year and see what is new with the San Juan MRC!

FREE Vessel Turn-in Event

Has your ‘dream boat’ become a ‘nightmare?’ You might qualify to dispose your old boat in a FREE Vessel Turn-In event! 

The Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) is managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help prevent boats from becoming derelict or abandoned and to keep pollution out of our marine habitats.

April 2024 event to be hosted by the San Juan County Derelict Vessel Program, San Juan County Marine Resources Committee, Port of Friday Harbor Marina & Airport, Northwest Straits Initiative Commission, and Washington State Department of Natural Resources(DNR).

Participation is open to anyone who is a WA resident or has proof of ownership or the legal authority to dispose of the vessel. 

Derelict Gear Removal in San Juan County

Caring for the waters of the Salish Sea includes removing garbage and debris that can trap or entangle birds, mammals and other sea life. Locating and removing fishing gear, old nets and lost crab pots helps eliminate these threats from the environment and begins to restore degraded marine habitat. 

Our partners at the NW Straits Foundation are working hard to identify and remove derelict fishing gear throughout the Salish Sea. Check out this report about their latest foray removing crab pots off Lopez Island. 

Read the Report

Southern Resident Orca Community Coffee Roundtable

Take part in Orca Recovery Day on October 14, 2023 from 9:00am - 11:00am showcasing the interconnected efforts to recover the endangered Southern Resident Orca. 

Join Representative Debra Lekanoff, San Juan County, and the MRC as they celebrate Orca Recovery Day with scientists and policy experts working at the local, state, and federal levels to share our collective recovery efforts for the endangered Southern Resident Orca.

This event will be held at the San Juan Island Grange in Friday Harbor however we are also able to offer a virtual option for attendees who are not able to make it in person.

Fall Great Islands Cleanup 2023

Join us for the Fall 2023 Great Islands Clean-up!

Saturday, September 30th

Help keep our roads and beaches litter-free during this biannual, all-islands community event!

Activities will be happening on Orcas, Lopez, Shaw and San Juan Island. Learn how you can get involved and check out the Plastic Free Salish Sea Initiative. 

Check out Currents: The MRC Blog

Have you heard that the San Juan County MRC has started a new blog? This is a place to read and share about stories happening in these marine waters. Up first is the tale of our new logo crafted by Jason LeClair, of the Lummi Nation. 

Elevating eelgrass protection in the San Juan Islands

In 2021 San Juan County's Marine Program hosted a series of virtual workshops that brought together partners engaged in eelgrass conservation, research, and recovery in San Juan County, forming EPIC, the Eelgrass Protection Initiative Consortium. This work was achieved with the support of Pew Charitable Trusts and was championed by the late Caroline Gibson, to whom we have dedicated this work. 

Check out the final report and also the blog post from Pew with quotes from key players in eelgrass conservation and research, including the NWSC. 

Pew blog post: 

In San Juan Islands, Coalition Works to Reverse Eelgrass Declines

2021 Annual Report Published

Learn about what the MRC accomplished in 2021 by taking a read through our Annual report.

Adopt a Beach!

The Plastic Free Salish Sea Initiative has launched the latest community effort for the Salish Sea. 

You can now sign up to as a beach steward by adopting your favorite beach in San Juan County! Be it just yourself, your family or a team.
Don't see your beach on the list? let us know and we can add your private beach too.  To learn more, pick your beach and sign up click the button below: 

MRC 2020 Annual Report Published

The 2020 Annual report for the San Juan MRC is now available. Learn about the MRC, the projects, and accomplishments of the past year, and what the MRC has planned for the future.

Salish Sea Science Symposium: Implications of Noise from Navy Aircraft for the Salish Sea and Olympic Region

The San Juan County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) and the Salish Sea Institute at Western Washington University co-hosted a science symposium on March 16,  on navy jet noise and the impacts to humans and wildlife in the region. Lauren Kuehne and Rob Williams presented from recently published scientific research and an engaging panel discussion with audience Q&A followed.


The Plastic Free Salish Sea Initiative is Launched!

The San Juan County MRC and partners are thrilled to see the official launch of the Plastic Free Salish Sea Initiative. We invite you to check out our community-based resources website to learn more about how you can do your part to reduce your reliance on plastic. We have easy to use toolkits, an events page for information on things to get involved in, and a dedicated resources page with links and infographics for you to access and use. 

J. Boyd, Western Prince Whale Watching

Do you have your whale warning flag?

If you would like a flag for your boat email us at

In 2018 we launched the Whale Warning Flag pilot study and associated education and outreach campaign aimed at shifting boater behavior around whales. Check out the results of our pilot study and what we learned in our final report.

Plastic Free Salish Sea brings you: How to Reduce Your Waste Impact During COVID-19 Times

In 2018 members of the Marine Resources Committee, Friends of the San Juans, San Juan County Solid Waste, the Lopez Solid Waste District and the Orcas Exchange came together to build an education and awareness building campaign aimed at changing citizen behavior and the cultures of plastic use in San Juan County and throughout the wider Salish Sea region. This group has continued to grow and expand their ideas and efforts. But, the global pandemic that we now find ourselves in has found the group being called upon to provide guidance on newly emerging issues related to plastics and waste.

Check out the PFSS Initiatives' easy to follow tips to REFUSE, REDUCE and REUSE in the age of COVID-19.

False Bay: A Biological Preserve & Island Gem

False Bay is a Biological Preserve managed by the University of Washington. It is a gem on San Juan Island and we are lucky to be able to enjoy it, especially during these long days where our “normal” daily rhythms have been abruptly changed by COVID-19. But while we wander the shoreline, or stroll out over the long expanse of tidelands at low tide we must remember that this special place is a protected place. What is a Biological Preserve you may wonder?  Preserves are established to help “protect and conserve fragile or unique habitats, species, and culturally historic sites, and to enhance fisheries abundance and biodiversity". False Bay is a place of important scientific research for the benefit of all of the Salish Sea, it provides important habitat to migrating seabirds, to eelgrass, forage fish and other vitally important species to the ecosystem of our waters.

Help us protect False Bay and its little residents, our neighbors with whom we co-habitat this island by following these four simple principles.

Image: Jeanne Hyde

New Storyboard! San Juan County Southern Resident Killer Whale Stewardship Efforts

We are excited to share our new storyboard on our efforts towards Southern Resident killer whale stewardship over the past 20 years. Walk through the history and learn about the key actions of the County and the MRC. 

This storyboard was made possible through funding from the Northwest Straits Foundation. It is also a tribute to the dedication and hard work of all previous and current MRC members in San Juan County.