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San Juan


San Juan County’s 408 miles of shoreline are the most of any county in the nation, and its waters encompass more than 170 named islands and countless rocky reefs. Cold, nutrient-rich waters from the Pacific Ocean and strong tidal currents create ideal conditions for an incredible diversity of marine life, and the diving here is considered some of the finest in the world. The county is home to the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories, and to nearly 16,000 full time or seasonal residents. Many Treaty Tribes have Usual and Accustomed fishing areas in the San Juans.

The MRC’s 16 members represent local government, the Tulalip Tribes, Friday Harbor Laboratories, builders, fishermen, boaters, and economic, recreational and conservation interests. San Juan MRC was first of the seven MRCs in the Northwest Straits, and serves as the citizen advisory group for salmon recovery work. They hold an admirable track record for effectively engaging in ever-changing local and regional marine policy efforts.

In carrying out the MSA Plan in 2015, the MRC hosted their tenth Marine Managers’ Workshop, aimed at increasing understanding of the risks from marine vessel traffic and developing policy approaches to protect marine resources. The event brought 60 participants together from San Juan County as well as from across the international border in the Gulf islands of British Columbia, Canada to collaborate on effective protection efforts. Facilitating a neighbor-to-neighbor exchange across the international border is a powerful and important tool to protect marine waters from a variety of threats.  

Recent Projects

  • Marine Managers’ Workshop - 10th annual event, with 60 participants from federal, tribal, state and local agencies
  • Marine Stewardship Area (MSA) Monitoring - 2015 focused on high-priority strategies identified in the plan, including fostering a marine stewardship ethic and supporting efforts to reduce the risk of oil spills
  • Stewardship Network - the MRC is a partner and member of the steering committee for the Stewardship Network of the San Juans, a coalition of organizations that works collaboratively on outreach and education
  • Marine Policies & Programs - Support to local government on marine policies affecting the area, including commenting on WDFW 2011-2017 strategic plan and providing scientific documents for the County's Shoreline Master Program update