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Friends Notes

Keep up to date with news from Friends of Skagit Beaches

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 Padilla Bay NERR Education staff - 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.

Trail Tales Shoreline: Forage Fish Station in Action

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE SOME FISH EGGS?”


This is what Michelle and Barbara have been saying over 1000 times to captivate the interest of the general public since the inception of the forage fish interpretive station only two years ago.

During that time the forage fish interpretive station has followed the citizen scientist forage fish egg surveyors onto the beaches of Fidalgo Island, participated in educational events such as Fidalgo Bay Day and the Salmon Festival, and presented an interactive program to junior ecologists at Padilla Bay and elementary classrooms.

Our mission is to educate our visitors about – (1) what are forage fish, (2) why are forage fish so important to warrant this much effort, (3) what constitutes a healthy beach for Surf Smelt egg spawning?

If you are interested in learning the answers to these and many more questions please look for us on the beach!