Photo: Florian Graner

Happy New Year from the Northwest Straits Initiative!

Winter is a perfect opportunity to reflect back on the accomplishments of the past year, and what a year it was!

  • In 2017, members of the Marine Resources Committees and project volunteers contributed more than 11,000 hours in support of local marine waters.
  • Clallam MRC ’s Olympia oyster restoration area in Blyn increased by 40% over 2016.
  • Island MRC collected over 5,000 aerial images of county shoreline with visible light and near infra-red technology to locate bull kelp beds.
  • San Juan MRC hosted a workshop to explore what local government and citizens can do to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whale, with 100+ participants and over 20 potential actions identified.
  • Jefferson MRC installed two more rain gardens in priority drainages, with a total of six rain gardens now filtering over 5,530 square feet of stormwater runoff.
  • Snohomish MRC partnered with Snohomish County Beach Watchers to reach over 1,000 recreational crabbers with information about best practices to avoid losing crab pots.
  • Skagit MRC hosted their 14th annual Fidalgo Bay Day, with more than 400 visitors attending to learn about the Salish Sea marine environment.
  • Whatcom MRC partnered with RE Sources to launch a North Sound Stewards volunteer program to train and engage citizen scientists in local marine projects.

As we look ahead to 2018, we already know it’s going to be eventful. We’re kicking off a new project to help us evaluate and measure the effectiveness of our actions in improving the health of the Salish Sea ecosystem, gearing up for a new strategic plan, and MRCs are taking on scores of projects in their communities and on their local beaches.

We hope you’ll join us in the new year to be part of this effort. Whether it’s a 2-minute beach cleanup, joining a local MRC, or volunteering to support a project, everything we do adds up. On behalf of the entire Northwest Straits Initiative family, we wish all of you a happy holiday season, and a happy new year!

The Northwest Straits Commission is a regional coordinating body comprised of people who care about the marine areas where they live, and who work together to protect and restore marine resources.

The Northwest Straits Commission carries out regional conservation projects and supports the work of seven Marine Resources Committees through funding, technical support, training and regional coordination.

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January Northwest Straits Commission Meeting

January 26

Snohomish County

  • Skagit MRC's tide pool tips


    Helping visitors take care of the rocky yet delicate beach areas at Washington Park in Anacortes has been a goal of the Skagit MRC for years. Trained beach naturalists have provided interpretive programs since 2014, educating beach visitors about tidepools and proper etiquette to protect marine creatures. But, beach naturalists can’t be there all the time, so to share information during times when beach naturalists aren’t there, Skagit MRC worked with the Coastal Volunteer Partnership and the City of Anacortes to develop and install an interpretive sign earlier this fall.

    The gorgeous visuals paired with action steps help visitors better understand the complex intertidal marine ecosystem, and provide simple guidelines for them to follow that protect the creatures that live there. A dedicated group of Salish Sea volunteers surveyed beach visitors to evaluate the effectiveness of the sign, with nearly 75% of those surveyed noting they had learned something new from the sign! Take a look next time you visit the beach, or learn more on the Skagit MRC website.

  • What is the impact of removed derelict crab pots?

    The Northwest Straits Foundation and Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee are conducting a derelict crab pot removal project in the Port Gardner Study Area next month. This "Study Area" was established back in 2008 when crab pots were removed from the same area where removals had previously been done in 2004 and 2005. This will be the 10th removal at this location.

    Along with reducing impacts to the local resource and marine ecosystem, multiple years of surveys and removals in the same area provide the opportunity to analyze gear loss over time, reasons for gear loss, and changes in rate of escape cord compliance.

  • Snohomish MRC special film series


    Snohomish MRC is launching a special event series in early 2018 to educate and inform citizens on ocean issues and solutions. The MRC reviewed several possible documentaries and coordinated with professionals in the field. The films and topics include three main focuses:

    -Puget Sound at the University of Washington Bothell on February 7 from 7:00-9:00 PM and Everett Community College on January 29 from 6:30-8:30PM featuring Return of the Kings  with facilitated discussion by videographer, Florian Graner.

    -Freshwater Nexus at the University of Washington Bothell on March 1 from 7:00-9:00 PM and Everett Community College on February 28 from 6:30-8:30PM featuring Return of the River-Elwha Restoration.

    -Open Ocean at the University of Washington Bothell on April 22 from 7:00-9:00 PM and Everett Community College on April 25 from 6:30-8:30 PM featuring Chasing Choral.

    For more information, visit

Member Spotlight: Sarah Brown

Snohomish MRC

Sarah Brown is a biologist with a lifelong addiction to all things marine. She began her career at the molecular level, performing gene-related research on melanoma and pyogenic granuloma. She transitioned to teaching, connecting students with the wonders of the natural world and sharing her passion for science.

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Upcoming Events

  • Jan


    January Northwest Straits Commission Meeting

    January 26
    10:00 AM-3:00 PM

    Open to the public.

    Snohomish County

  • Jan


    Ocean Literacy Series- Puget Sound

    January 29
    6:30 PM-8:30 PM

    Join Snohomish MRC for this special series of Puget Sound focused films and guest speakers.

    Everett Community College

  • Feb


    Ocean Literacy Series - Puget Sound

    February 07
    7:00 PM-9:00 PM

    Join Snohomish MRC for this special series of Puget Sound focused films and guest speakers.

    University of Washington Bothell