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New Project: The Plastic Initiative (SPRRC) “Sparks” Plastic Reduction

Plastic pollution and its impacts on the marine environment is an important issue that seems to be in the news a lot lately.
Crafted, created, and led by board member Betty Carteret, Friends of Skagit Beaches’ newest project, Skagit Plastic Reduction and Recycling Coalition (SPRRC) received a $30,000 from the Department of Ecology in September 2018.

The objectives of the project:

- Raise awareness about harmful impacts of plastic waste

- Reduce the use of single-use plastics

- Promote lifestyle choices that will reduce harmful impacts of plastic waste

- Reduce contamination of the plastic recycling waste stream

Right out of the starting gate, the project established a working partnership with Skagit County Solid Waste Division. Callie Martin, Skagit County’s outreach specialist for waste reduction and recycling has provided insights, valuable information, and resources.

paula with bag at coop600Volunteer participation in the project exceeded expectations by more than double the 450 hours proposed in the grant application. As of the end of the grant period on June 30th volunteers had given over 1,000 hours of service to the project!

Over 1,300 community members were contacted and over 800 plastic reduction pledges have been completed. Pledge participants were sent a survey and results indicate that the messages shared in our outreach are making a difference and people are making positive changes to reduce their use of single-use plastics and also following guidelines for recycling more carefully.

Check out our other blog posts and the Plastic Initiative section to learn more about this project, plastic and what you can do to make a difference.

Would you like to get involved?
Contact Betty at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Trail Tales: Repair and Clean Up

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A helping hand with our volunteers

erica pickett and parks rec helperIn 2013, Friends of Skagit Beaches’ Trail Tales project worked with the City of Anacortes Parks & Recreation Department to install the first group of interpretive signs along the Tommy Thompson Trail between 34th Street and March Point. Over the years, several signs were vandalized and other damaged by seagulls dropping shells along the causeway and trestle.

Last year, Project Lead Betty Carteret received funds from the 2018 Anacortes Lodging Tax fund to replace several signs with the most damage. Working with the sign manufacturer, IZone Imaging, it was determined that this group of signs had a manufacturing defect that was contributing to early deterioration. IZone offered to replace all the signs in that group at no cost under warranty. Friends didn’t have to spend a dime to get 15 new signs to replace the old signs along the trail.

We really appreciate the outstanding customer service offered by IZone Imaging

On March 8th with support from Anacortes Parks & Recreation staff, a group of 8 volunteers removed the old signs, cleaned the aluminum support frames, and installed 15 new signs. Thank you to all who helped get the job done!

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The interpretive signs tell the storying of the history of Anacortes’ working waterfront; the ecology of the shoreline and watershed; activities that led to shoreline pollution; and the Anacortes Baywide Cleanup project that has restored the shoreline along Fidalgo Bay. The signs are popular stopping points along the trail and are visited by many residents, tourists, and visitors staying at the Fidalgo Bay Resort. You can pick up a map brochure guiding you to see the interpretive signs at the Anacortes Visitors Center, Cap Sante Marina Office, or the Anacortes Library.

Learn more about our Trail Tales interpretive signs here 

You can attend an update on the Baywide Cleanup project (the Custom Plywood Mill site) on March 25th @ 11 am at the Anacortes Library.

With the weather improving and Spring on its way, grab your trail map and head out for a Journey of Discovery along the Tommy Thompson trail. If you’d like more information about the interpretive trail, you can contact Betty Carteret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Skagit Plastic Waste Reduction & Recycling Project

plastics display

(pictured right: FOSB Plastic Interpretive Display rolled out at Fidalgo Shoreline Academy)

Friends of Skagit Beaches -  with support from Skagit County Solid Waste Division and the Skagit Marine Resource Committee's Salish Sea Steward volunteer program - has undertaken a new project to provide education and outreach to residents of Skagit County to reduce single-use plastics that can find their way into our waterways and become marine debris, a major issue threatening our bays and oceans.

A second goal of the project is to educate local communities about changes to plastic waste recycling requirements. As some of our readers may be aware, China is no longer accepting plastics for recycling from the United States and other countries due to the high percentage of “contamination” of the waste stream. This is not contamination of the sort you might expect, it’s really an issue of the plastic being collected containing a high-percentage of non-recyclable plastic waste. This has significantly impacted the viability of plastic recycling and changed the requirements for the types of plastic that can be accepted into the recycling stream. We are calling this part of our project a Skagit County plastic recycling “reboot” to convey that we all need to relearn what plastics can and cannot be recycled.

Friends recently received a grant from the WA Department of Ecology to support rolling out this program in Skagit County. Board member, Betty Carteret, who drafted the proposal, will manage the project. We are just getting started and recruiting volunteers to help make it a success. Friends has contracted with Joan Drinkwin of Natural Resources Consultants to lead the project and coordinate volunteer activities.

Some of you may know Joan from her work with the Skagit MRC’s Salish Sea Stewards Volunteer Program this year. She is working with Callie Martin, Skagit County Waste Reduction and Recycling Educator, to develop a full-day training program for the volunteers to learn details about issues with marine debris and single-use plastics, changes in the plastic recycling market and requirements, and alternatives to single-use plastics. Additional training will be offered to hone outreach and communication skills so our volunteers can effectively foster plastic waste reduction and proper plastic recycling in Skagit County.

Volunteers will be asked to contribute a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer time in exchange for this training program.


If you’re passionate about doing something about marine debris and plastics in our environment, we hope you’ll join the team. For more information or to sign up for the training, please contact Joan Drinkwin via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In upcoming editions of the Friends’ newsletter look for articles about the project as our volunteers get to work in the community and what you can do to help solve the problem with plastics polluting our environment.

Fidalgo Shoreline Academy is a wrap!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year's Academy a great success. We had a great line up of presenters and exhibitors, wonderful volunteers and over 85 attendees who enjoyed the day of learning

Check out the Fidalgo Shoreline Academy write-up in the Skagit Valley Herald

Membership Drive with Board members Barb and Gina

barb and gina

 Registration with Rachel and Brad

brad and rachel registration

 

Jude Apple's Keynote Address on Blue Carbon was great!

jude presentation

  

Shannon came to share more information on the
Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection

shannon and swinomish

 

Thank you Skagit Conservation District for spending the day with us!

skagitconservationdisplay

 

Friends of Skagit Beaches new Plastics Interpretive Station

plastics display

 

Karen and friends enjoy lunch

karen and friends

 

Todd McLeish shares some great stories about our coastal sea otters

todd mcl presentation

Citizen Science: Native Oysters

img 0623Jennifer Selvig and Wayne Huseby went out to the end of Weaverling Spit to retrieve half of the "shell stacks" that they had deployed in late May. 

The "shell stacks", made up of 11 Pacific oyster shells, provide an appropriate substrate for native oyster larvae to deposit themselves. The stacks will be sent to the labs in Olympia to be viewed under a microscope for evidence of native oyster "spat". The remaining half of the stacks will be collected in late May of 2019 or one year from initial deployment. A new set of "shell stacks" will be deployed at that time.

A great way for citizen scientists to help with important research on this once abundant mollusk!

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