San Juan Lead Entity Management Area
San Juan County Lead Entity
Given its geographic location and its diverse nearshore and marine habitats, the San Juan Islands provide a productive ecosystem that is essential for many life history stages of salmon. As a migratory corridor and a foraging area, the San Juan Islands support the viability of all 22 salmonid populations in the Puget Sound ESU. The primary focus of salmon recovery in the Islands is to support forage fish habitat, including sand lance, surf smelt, and herring. These forage fish populations provide a food source to juvenile and adult Chinook and other salmonids as they migrate into the Salish Sea and beyond.
The San Juan County Salmon Recovery Lead Entity is a local watershed based organization devoted to recovery of sustainable salmon populations to support the needs of the local ecosystem, wildlife and people in the San Juan Islands. The Lead Entity is supported by a body of citizens (Citizen Advisory Group) and technical advisers (Technical Advisory Group) with expertise in salmon habitat restoration and works closely with the San Juan LIO and the San Juan Marine Resources Committee. The San Juan Lead Entity plan for salmon recovery creates a scientifically sound and politically supported strategy that focuses on protecting high quality habitat for salmon, restoring degraded habitat, and continuing research and monitoring.
A Success Story: West Beach Culvert Replacement
In December of 2019, a group gathered to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the West Beach Culvert Replacement on Orcas Island. The presence of attendees from the San Juan Lead Entity, the San Juan County Environmental Resources Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and San Juan County Public Works demonstrated the collaboration required to achieve this project that will provide multiple benefits. This project resulted in the realignment of West Beach Creek by building a rockery to define the new stream channel and installing a 19-foot tall, bottomless, aluminum culvert to replace the previous, 5-foot corroded one. The goal of this project is to restore connectivity for native fish passage in lower West Beach Creek system. West Beach Creek historically supported a searun cutthroat trout population that was once fished recreationally (until the 1970s). The stream also contains suitable habitat for coho and juvenile Chinook that might migrate into the stream temporarily for rearing. This project builds on a previous project sponsored by the Northwest Straits Foundation to restore access further downstream.
The San Juan County Lead Entity organizes and approves salmon recovery projects to achieve its priority protection and recovery goals:
To promote Soft Shores:
(Friends of the San Juans)
To protect Intact Shoreline:
(San Juan Preservation Trust)
To restore Shorelines:
(San Juan County)
To advance Salmon Science:
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Near Term Actions can be associated with multiple Lead Entity Management Areas, but are mapped in a single location. Therefore some Near Term Actions may appear outside of the Lead Entity Management Area boundary.
Expenditures by Organization Type
Near Term Actions can span multiple Lead Entity Management Areas, therefore the Reported Expenditures shown here may also be accounted for in other Lead Entity Management Areas.