Crab props from our stop motion animation. Photo: Andrea Love

Watch Now: Engaging Conservation Leaders

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Puget Sound is a living jewel that encompasses thousands of shoreline miles in Washington state and is home to more than 4 million people. However, this fjord-like estuary is experiencing continued ecological decline and loss of critical marine habitat. The Northwest Straits Initiative was authorized by Congress in 1998 to protect and restore marine waters, species and habitats through a citizen-based approach.

The Northwest Straits Initiative commissioned animator Andrea Love to create this beautiful short film to highlight the work of the Initiative’s and how our work contributes to the goal of protecting and restoring our marine waters. Each component of the Initiative has unique skills and organizational characteristics that allow for strong collective actions across a variety of conservation projects. The short film illustrates how we partners with scientists, locally-based advisory groups, and volunteers who all share the common goal of protecting local marine waters through programs such as the removal of derelict fishing gear, and restoration of many shoreline sites.

When making the film, Andrea Love interviewed several key players in the Northwest Straits Initiative. She then animated them in her unmistakable stop-motion style to create the story of “Engaging Conservation Leaders.” Characters in the film include Terry Williams (Northwest Straits Commissioner, Commissioner of Fisheries and Natural Resources, Tulalip Tribes), Rich Childers (Director, Northwest Straits Commission), Lisa Kaufman (Nearshore Program Manager, Northwest Straits Foundation), Jason Morgan (Marine Projects Manager, Northwest Straits Foundation) and Frances Wood (Island County MRC Volunteer).

The film is scored with original music by Eric Andrew Kuhn.

The Northwest Straits Commission is a regional coordinating body comprised of people who care about the marine areas where they live, and who work together to protect and restore marine resources.

The Northwest Straits Commission carries out regional conservation projects and supports the work of seven Marine Resources Committees through funding, technical support, training and regional coordination.

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More About Us and the Northwest Straits Region »

August NWSC Meeting

August 25

Pacific Rim Institute, 180 Parker Road, Coupeville, WA

  • Member Spotlight: Dale Moses

  • Tri-county collaboration energizes local volunteers

    Clallam, Jefferson, Island

    One of the cornerstones of the Northwest Straits Initiative is our ability to collaborate and cross-pollinate ideas from one Marine Resources Committee (MRC) to another. Recently members of the Jefferson, Clallam and Island MRCs held a joint meeting and potluck to ask questions and share ideas on strategies to maintain and improve upon the eelgrass project and potential collaborative projects.

    Fifty volunteers and staff from each of the three MRCs, along with staff from the Northwest Straits Commission and the Northwest Straits Foundation discussed everything from educating the public on shellfish harvest and engaging youth to mapping eelgrass with multi-beam sonar. Educating the public on our unique organizational structure and exposing them to on-the-ground projects emerged as important aspects of outreach. You can expect to see multi-beam sonar expanding in this three-county area in the near future--a great example of how effective we can be when we work together.

    Learn more about the local Marine Resources Committees on our website.

  • #CatchMoreCrab

    Northwest Straits Initiative

    Crabbing season is well under way in Puget Sound and so is our #CatchMoreCrab campaign! The Northwest Straits Initiative is working collaboratively to help recreational crabbers reduce crab pot loss–estimated in the thousands yearly. Watch for volunteers sharing information at boat launches and marinas this season, or grab one of our cards at many local retailers where crabbing gear is sold.

    Check your pots for these simple ways to reduce loss:

    • Make buoys more visible by adding a second buoy or a stick and flag.
    • Use a weighted line to sink below the surface and avoid being cut by passing boats.
    • Weight your crab pots so they don’t move with currents or tidal changes.
    • Use longer line. Use 1/3 more line than the water depth to allow for changes in tides and currents.
    • Secure the lid and escape panels with biodegradable cotton cord so that crabs can escape if your pot is lost.
    • When you head out on the water, check the local tides and currents, and avoid high traffic areas like marine transit and ferry lanes.
  • Doug Stark, Whatcom MRC


    Doug Stark is a true nature enthusiast. His involvement with Whatcom MRC started in 2003 and he now serves as the representative for the MRC on the Northwest Straits Commission. Originally from a farm in Minnesota, he worked his way west dabbling in field sciences and environmental education. His fascination in diverse habitats afforded him many opportunities to work in many fields, from a ranch hand in the Rocky Mountains to helping-hand as a diver harvesting clams. Doug is particularly drawn to the intertidal zone and nearshore habitats and served as an educator for Public Works Natural Resources Division with the City of Bellingham traveling to various school teaching about stormwater.

    Doug’s philosophy is best summed best in his own words, "I truly appreciate the MRC's mission of bringing diverse groups together to facilitate agreeable solutions to challenges posed to our Salish Sea environments."

Member Spotlight: Dale Moses

Jefferson MRC

Dale Moses joined the Jefferson MRC in early 2014 to represent recreational users and jumped right in with both feet. He volunteered to serve as the MRC's representative to the Commission, is project lead for the MRC's Voluntary No-anchor Zones committee and represents the MRC at numerous other meetings.

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Upcoming Events

  • Jul


    July NWSC Meeting

    July 28
    10:00 AM-12:00 PM

    To join the WebEx meeting, click here. Enter your name and email address and click “Join.”

    For audio conference only, dial:1-877-668-4493, access code: 921 780 415

    *Conference call*

  • Aug


    Padilla Bay - Marine Energy Seminar

    August 08
    6:30 PM-8:30 PM

    Check out the first of two public seminars exploring the potential of marine renewable energy in Puget Sound.

    Join the National Northwest Marine Renewable Energy Center, Washington Sea Grant and members of the Northwest Straits Initiative for expert speakers, facilitated discussion and hands-on demonstrations exploring the potential of currents, waves and wind for power!

    Padilla Bay Reserve, Mount Vernon, WA

  • Aug


    2017 Fidalgo Bay Day

    August 12
    11:00 AM-3:00 PM

    Join Skagit MRC for this wonderful event, hosted at the Samish Indian Nation’s Fidalgo Bay Resort.

    The purpose of this free educational event is to increase public awareness of the marine environment and foster environmental stewardship.

    4701 Fidalgo Bay Rd, Anacortes