LIO-SJ Projects

Ecosystem Protection and Recovery Actions

The San Juan County Local Integrating Organization has carried out numerous projects to advance the recovery within our marine waters. We work to create actions that will protect and restore the marine waters of San Juan County and the Salish Sea. Integration of efforts on the local, state, tribal and federal levels are expected to lead to an increased positive impact on this ecosystem.

The SJ LIO's work can be broken down through the Ecosystem Protection and Plan (EPRP). Issues of main concern in San Juan County can be addressed through four main strategies. Ongoing actions in each area of concern are described below:

Large Oil Spill/Vessel Traffic Impacts 

  • Reduce the risk of a large oil spill. 
  • Reduce vessel traffic impacts to marine habitat and threatened and endangered species. 

Stormwater Management 

  • Reduce sources of contaminants to stormwater. 
  • Reduce sediment transport to freshwater bodies and the marine environment. 

Shoreline Hardening

  • Increase the amount of restored or protected nearshore habitat in high priority habitat areas. 
  • Maintain abundance of existing healthy kelp habitat. 
  • Reduce the rate of declining coverage of eelgrass on beaches and embayments. 
  • Increase the marine riparian native forest in high priority habitat areas.

Freshwater Restoration 

  • Increase summer stream flow and establish physical habitat for native anadromous salmonids in up to nine priority watersheds. 
  • Reduce sources of contaminants to fresh water. 
  • Increase biodiversity and disease resistance, and reduce wildfire risk in mature forest. 
Cargo ship with whale

Through the implementation of this plan, the San Juan Action Agenda Oversight Group seeks to continue its efforts to address these challenges and ensure that ecosystem protection is recognized throughout the region as equally and often more important to Puget Sound Recovery as restoration. The SJ-LIO has been successful in implementing the EPRP and will continue our recovery actions in the following ways.

Current SJ LIO Projects

  1. Vessel Traffic & Oil Spill Prevention
  2. Addressing Creosote Contamination
  3. Shoreline Hardening
  4. Water Resources 

SanAtlantic Eagle ERV photo courtesy Canadian Coast Guard  Juan County lies in the heart of the Salish Sea surrounded on all sides by major shipping lanes. This risk of a major oil spill is of huge concern to the County.

A Near Term Action proposal for a comprehensive Oil Spill Risk Consequences Assessment was selected for locally-directed $100,000 funding in 2018. Economic consultants were contracted to perform an Oil Spills Consequences Assessment for San Juan County (Earth Economics) and to evaluate the cost of an emergency response towing vessel (ERTV, Northern Economics). 

The San Juan Ecosystem Protection and Recovery Plan identifies investment in an ERTV to reduce the risk of a spill at Boundary Pass/Haro Strait on the north and west sides of San Juan County as a priority risk mitigation measure. Such actions have also been recommended by the Governor's Southern Resident Orca Task Force, the Department of Ecology's 2016 Salish Sea Workshop, and Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Coordination Board and Leadership Council. 

Vessel Drift and Response Analysis Inland Waters Factsheet
Spill Consequence Assessment and ERTV Cost Evaluation Factsheet

Vessel Drift and Response Analysis Inland Waters Report
Vessel Drift and Response Analysis Final Presentation Webinar
Spill Consequence Assessment and ERTV Cost Evaluation Report

Completed and Related Projects:

Oil Dispersants in San Juan County Waters Factsheet
Oil Dispersants Policy Report