During the recent daytime low tides, Friends of the San Juans and project contractor Zach Crosby of Shaw Island Excavation worked to remove large rock and concrete debris from a stretch of beach on Shaw Island. The project will improve spawning substrate in a year-round forage fish area and compliments similar projects completed in 2017 with Friends and 3 additional private landowners along Blind Bay.
“It’s been great to have such strong support from multiple private property owners for habitat enhancement efforts,” said Friends Science Director Tina Whitman. “Blind Bay has extensive beach spawning forage fish as well as Pacific herring that spawn just offshore in eelgrass. When this new site is completed, spawning habitat will be restored at over 1,000 feet of shoreline across six parcels in this priority area.”
At many places in the islands, unnecessary, outdated and unnatural structures on beaches limit the quantity and quality of the fine gravel and sandy habitat that forage fish eggs require for successful incubation. Forage fish play a key role in marine food webs, supporting seabirds, salmon and marine mammals, and require healthy shoreline habitats for spawning. Friends provides free technical assistance and advances opportunities to improve habitat like this one at Blind Bay with interested waterfront owners.
Funding for this project to improve the health of shorelines and support of marine food webs was provided by the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and members of Friends of the San Juans.
Attend a Friends of the San Juans 40th Anniversary Celebration and learn more in person about forage fish habitat research, restoration and protection efforts. Events are on Lopez on October 5, San Juan on October 12 and Seattle on November 8. Visit sanjuans.org/ 40th or contact Friends at 360-378-2319 for more information.