News Flash

Environmental Stewardship News

Posted on: October 20, 2023

Creosote Pilings Removed from Jackson Beach, Improving Habitat and Shoreline

Environmental Stewardship

SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA October 20, 2023 – San Juan County and the Marine Resources Committee is pleased to announce the successful removal of the derelict pier at Jackson Beach. This October, 117 creosote pilings were pulled from the water. The derelict pier had been crumbling for decades and the creosote piles were leaching toxins into the marine environment. This project, undertaken by San Juan County Environmental Stewardship Department and the Marine Resources Committee, improves habitat for fish, seabirds, and marine mammals as well as improving the shoreline for the community. 

Jackson Beach Creosote removal project_Frances Robertson3Why it is important to remove creosote pilings?

Creosote-treated wood was once a standard material used to build marine infrastructure, but it has resulted in generational impacts to our sensitive marine environment. As creosote leaches into the water, it impacts forage fish spawning habitat, valuable eelgrass beds, and other nearshore habitats and species. Creosote vapors also pose a risk to human health. 

Restoring shorelines for communities and marine life

For some, the remnants of the former La Farge gravel pit pier represented a piece of the island’s industrial history. With the removal of these pilings, the Jackson Beach shoreline will turn a page in the history book and enter its next chapter as a restored habitat for forage fish, vital food for salmon, sea birds, and marine mammals.

Jackson Beach is also an important asset for the community. It serves as a barge landing for critical infrastructure materials, equipment, and even affordable housing, it provides research opportunities for the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, it serves as a launch point for kayak tours, and remains a beloved space for families and friends to beach comb, picnic, and play. 

The Environmental Stewardship Department would like to thank Quigg Brothers for a quick and smooth removal operation, the Northwest Straits Commission for securing funding, and the Marine Resources Committee for their direction and support. 

Get Involved

The MRC and San Juan County also encourage you to report any creosote you find on the shoreline to WA Dept. Natural Resources using the MyCoast App. You can download the app from your app store or from the mycoast.org website and report large marine debris, creosote, king tides, and storm surge events. 

This project is being undertaken using Federal funds under award NA22NMF4690358 from NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce. To find more information about this project and other creosote removal projects being undertaken by the County, check out the Engage page dedicated to shoreline restoration work. (www.sjcmrc/projects). 

The public can report any creosote you find on the shoreline to WA Dept. Natural Resources using the MyCoast App

Contact: Frances Robertson, Marine Project Manager, francesr@sanjuanco.com

About San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship   

San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship is responsible for solid waste, marine resources, clean water, cultural resources, and climate and sustainability work.  The department offices are located at 1609 Beaverton Valley Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. For more information about San Juan County’s Department of Environmental Stewardship, visit www.sanjuanco.com/839/Environmental-Stewardship

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