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Shoreline Habitat improved along Lopez Island’s Barlow Bay

barlowsmLast week, Friends of the San Juans enhanced habitat for beach spawning forage fish along Barlow Bay at the south end of Lopez Island. Over the years, substantial rock from road protection efforts has fallen onto the middle and upper portions of the beach, degrading habitat at one of only nine known Pacific sand lance spawning sites in San Juan County.

Sand lance are a key food item for many fish, seabirds, and marine mammals, including salmon and bottomfish. Sand lance lay their eggs on sandy upper beaches. Land use practices, especially armoring, can easily damage this valuable and limited shoreline zone.

Local contractor Michael Budnick, hired by FOSJ, restacked rock along Barlow Bay's public and private roads, improving the spawning beaches and repairing the failing road protection.

"The Friends of the San Juans' habitat restoration project was a win win for everyone" states San Olson, FOSJ board member and neighborhood resident, "while the primary objective was to enhance critical spawning habitat and support marine food webs, we were also able to use the rocks removed from the beach to fill gaps and improve protection along the road". Thanks to San Juan County Public Works, Barlow Bay shoreline property owners and the Salmon Point Community for their support of the project. Also thanks to the Washington State Salmon Recovery Board provided for funding this small but important restoration project.

For more information on priority shoreline habitats and species, or the work FRIENDS is doing throughout the county to protect and restore them, visit www.sanjuans.org.

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Questions about county boat?

Rumors are spreading and questions are being raised  about the purchase of the new public works boat. Thursday, we'll be interviewing Public Works officials as part of our work on the story regarding the boat. If there are specific issues you feel need to be answered, please email editor@sanjuanislander.com by 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 28. Thanks.

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New county boat increases efficiency, reduces expenses

With its new boat which arrived this week, San Juan County’s Public Works Department new boat can for the first time carry its own materials, small vehicles, heavy tools and pieces of equipment to projects on the outer islands. The boat, which has not yet been named, replaces two aging boats.

The new 35- foot-craft, built by Munson Boats of Burlington, has 18 feet of clear deck space, a drop front gate and a small crane. 'The three boats Public Works had before this acquisition are all 20-footers, designed as pleasure craft, not work boats,' said county Administrator Pete Rose. 'And the old boats had become unreliable and expensive to maintain."

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County replaces 2 aging boats with 1 new boat

With its new boat which arrived earlier this month, San Juan County’s Public Works Department new boat can for the first time carry its own materials, small vehicles, heavy tools and pieces of equipment to projects on the outer islands. The boat, which has not yet been named, replaces two aging boats.

The new 35-foot-craft, built by Munson Boats of Burlington, has 18 feet of clear deck space, a drop front gate and a small crane. 'The three boats Public Works had before this acquisition are all 20-footers, designed as pleasure craft, not work boats,' said county Administrator Pete Rose. 'And the old boats had become unreliable and expensive to maintain."

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No one hurt when truck rolls into water at Roche Harbor

A one-ton San Juan County Public Works Department truck rolled forward into the water at Roche Harbor at approximately 10 a.m. this morning and was completely submerged for approximately 2 to 2.5 hours until it was hauled out by a contract tow operator. Workers from Public Works and Roche Harbor stood by in case fuel or oil leaked from the truck, but acting Public Works Director Russ Harvey said that there was no leakage.

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Retired Naval Officer in command of Public Works starts Oct. 17

frank-mulcahyAfter 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Frank Mulcahy starts a new assignment October 17, 2011 as Public Works Director of San Juan County. He replaces Jon Shannon who stepped down in April after eight years in the position. Russ Harvey served as interim director while the county searched for Shannon's replacement.

Mulcahy, of Groton, Connecticut, holds a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute and a Masters in Construction Management from the University of Washington.

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