SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. September 12, 2022 – MacKaye Harbor road and dock on Lopez Island are now open with a kayak-friendly public access to the county beach north of the boat launch and a restored sitting area.
The improvements were part of the MacKaye Harbor Shoreline Restoration Project which is complete after several weeks of removing old armor from the beach and spreading fresh sand and gravel. Crews have officially cleared the site.
Next steps include developing an interpretive sign and planting native trees and shrubs. Design work for the sign will begin this fall with the hope of installation in a year. Planting will occur in February of 2023 with regular monitoring to ensure the new vegetation is established.
San Juan County would like to thank A1 Marine LLC, a San Juan Island-based marine construction company, and their crew for their diligent and timely work.
In the 1960s, a road was built on the MacKaye Harbor beach to access a sand quarry where the present boat launch is now located. The road was never fully removed and armor from the road sat on the bank and beach, occupying the space where sand and gravel should be to provide spawning habitat for key feeder fish. Removing the old armor and restoring the beach to its former sandy habitat has been a long-awaited project. Starting in 2018, San Juan County’s Environmental Stewardship Department began plans for restoring the beach by removing boulders, nourishing the beach with a mix of sand and gravel, and promoting a healthy habitat that will benefit the Chinook salmon and ultimately the local Southern Resident Killer Whale population.
San Juan County received grant funding from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund and the Estuary Salmon Restoration Program. Combined with matching funds from the County, the $270,150 project completed work on September 9, 2022.