Photo: Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, Senator Patty Murray, Island MRC Chair Frances Wood and Pigeon Guillemot researcher Emily Bishop celebrating the derelict gear removal program accomplishments.

Derelict Gear Removal Celebration

On August 13 we celebrated the great work accomplished by the partners of the Northwest Straits Initiative, with a special focus on the completion of derelict fishing net removal in Puget Sound. "Today we are the model that is held up around the country" said Senator Patty Murray about the Northwest Straits Initiative. 

Divers, boat captains and biologists who removed derelict fishing nets celebrated along with scientists who researched the impacts, agencies and organizations that supported the work, and the many volunteers and staff who are part of the Northwest Straits Initiative family. Thanks to our partner Northwest Straits Foundation and many speakers and participants who joined the event. 


The Northwest Straits Commission is seeking applications for the Marine Program Manager position. Click here for a position description and how to apply. 

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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Northwest Straits Commission Meeting - August

August 28

WebEx Conference Call (see agenda for details)

  • Member Spotlight: Ed Bowlby

  • Kelp Survey Project up and Paddling

    Clallam, Jefferson

    Marine Resources Committee (MRC) members in four Northwest Straits counties have launched their kayaks to survey local bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) beds this summer, and two more are about to get their paddles wet. Using a survey protocol developed by the Commission in 2014, MRCs are making the most of hot weather and a great opportunity to track changes in local kelp populations. The effects of El Nino have boosted volunteer interest in this effort, but it may prove an unusual year for kelp: none of the 23 species found in Puget Sound are known to fare well in warm water, and temperatures are four degrees higher than normal.

    The information collected by these citizen scientists will used to compare kelp density between counties, and in the context of kelp growth and other data being generated elsewhere around the Salish Sea.

    Thanks to technical guidance from the Commission’s lead advisor on this project, Thomas Mumford, field trials are underway in July through September this year, during the height of kelp growth season. Six MRCs aim to survey again during the summer of 2016. Thank you everyone for getting this project off the ground and on the water!

    Learn more about our work on Kelp Recovery on our website

  • Island MRC Pigeon Guillemot Research


    Island County Marine Resources Committee researcher Emily Bishop snapped this photo of a Pigeon Guillemot enjoying its nice breakfast of sculpin during one of her surveys of Pigeon Guillemot colonies on Whidbey Island, near Pratt's Bluff and Mutiny Sands.

    "The most notable thing we're all curious about is the fact that we've seen several juveniles already this year." said Emily. "They seem to be fledging several weeks earlier than usual. Our guess is the unusually hot and dry June caused the Pigeon Guillemots to lay early."

    Learn more about the work of Island County MRC and their work with Whidbey Audubon on their website

  • Fidalgo Bay Day


    Join the Skagit MRC for a free, fun, family outing at Fidalgo Bay Day & National Estuaries Day on Saturday, August 29 from 11AM–3PM at Fidalgo Bay Resort, 4701 Fidalgo Bay Road in Anacortes.

    Participate in our popular beach seining demonstration, touch live marine critters in Shannon Point Marine Center’s undersea zoo, join the Samish Indian Nation canoe family on a traditional canoe ride, get creative at the kid friendly craft tables, get your face painted, play fun games, and learn about local projects and volunteer opportunities at the many educational exhibits staffed by local agencies and organizations.

    Enjoy a fabulous no-host traditional salmon BBQ lunch offered by members of the Samish Indian Nation. Taste complimentary samples of seafood chowder prepared by local restaurateurs and shellfish from Taylor Shellfish Farms.

Member Spotlight: Ed Bowlby

Clallam MRC

A person might wonder how a kid from the land-locked state of Oklahoma finds his way to a career in marine biology, but Ed Bowlby was inspired early on by the work of Jacques Cousteau. One thing led to another, and he made his way to California and then traveled further north along the Pacific to work in Seattle and Alaska.

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Upcoming Events

  • Aug


    Northwest Straits Commission Meeting - August

    August 28
    10 am-12 pm

    Click here for all meeting materials in a single PDF file. 

    Draft agenda

    Draft July meeting minutes

    Committee Reports

    MRC Monthly reports

    Staff highlights

    MRC Project List

    To join the meeting by WebEx, click here at the meeting start time.  If requested, enter your name and email address. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: nwstra1ts  and then click "Join".

    To join the audio conference only, call 1-877-668-4493 or 1-650-479-3208, and enter access code:924 340 526.

    WebEx Conference Call (see agenda for details)

  • Aug


    Fidalgo Bay Day

    August 29

    Celebrate the beauty, history, and marine life of Fidalgo Bay. Sponsored by the Skagit MRC and many partners.

    Fidalgo Bay Day is a free, fun and educational experience for the entire family!

    Fidalgo Bay RV Resort - 4701 Fidalgo Bay Road

  • Sep


    Shuckin' on the Farm

    September 12

    Shuckin’ on the Farm is a community celebration aimed at connecting people to their water resources in order to protect and restore this valuable local asset.  The Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee will have an interactive game for kids and current project information available on display.

    Bellewood Acres - 6140 Guide Meridian, Lynden WA