MRC projects are as widely varied as the San Juan County Marine Stewardship Area itself and forward our mission to protect and restore the marine waters, habitats and species of the Salish Sea to achieve ecosystem health and sustainable resource use. Our work most often fall into one of three categories reflected below:
- Marine Species
- Marine Species & Habitats
- Education & Outreach
- Water Quality
- Nearshore Protection & Restoration
The MRC advises the San Juan County Council on marine resource issues in the San Juan Islands. To develop our comments, we often develop and/or compile scientific research, solicit public opinion from a variety of sources, survey appropriate protection and restoration efforts to understand the status and effects of current practices and regulations. Some of our recent advisory projects include:
- Comments on the (then) proposed NOAA rules to help protect killer whales from potential vessel effects.
- Advice and assistance to the County to re-start and effective Derelict Vessel Removal Program.
- Providing extensive references and research papers to the County as best available science for the CAO update process.
To both effectively understand the problems facing the marine environment and to accurately measure the effects of our protection and restoration efforts, we must have appropriate scientific monitoring of present conditions. Effective monitoring is meticulous, expensive and targeted to provide useful data. The MRC both directly commissions research and helps support local research with the potential for providing this useful data. Some of our recent science projects include:
- Funding a countywide feeder bluff and shoreline modification surveys
- Supporting research to determine the efficacy of voluntary reserves for bottomfish recovery
- Funding toxicology and stormwater runoff studies
To successfully move forward with the protection and restoration of marine resources, there must be public support. When people possess a stewardship ethic informed by an understanding of problems and potential solutions, they will take direct action to protect the environment and support sensible regulations and programs that benefit marine resources. The MRC continues to nurture that stewardship ethic in our local citizens. Recent outreach projects include:
- Working with the Stewardship Network of the San Juans to develop the Short Run to the Sea campaign, a series of articles and a website to provide information and tips on improving both fresh and marine water quality in the San Juans
- Publishing a series of Stewardship Connections newsletters. Recent issues brought engaging articles on local citizen science efforts and the importance of ecosystem monitoring.
- Holding crabbing and crab fishery management workshops on San Juan, Lopez and Orcas Islands