Friends of the San Juans awarded grant from conservation program

Friends of the San Juans has been awarded a three-year support grant worth $5,000 per year from the ESRI Conservation Program.

The ESRI Conservation Program is the non-profit support arm of the Environmental Systems Research Institute. This program has helped to create and develop spatial analysis, computer mapping and geographic information systems capability among thousands of non-profit organizations and individual projects of all sizes and types worldwide.

Friends of the San Juans uses GIS to integrate, understand and utilize large volumes of existing and new data. GIS allows Friends to create clear, understandable and usable information for natural resource protection and restoration.

GIS maps and data are vital in work with local, state and tribal governments. GIS integrates natural resource data into comprehensive plans and development regulations, such as critical areas ordinances. Friends also uses GIS for public education and outreach.

“Mapping is a vital tool to understanding the world we live in," Friends Executive Director Stephanie Buffum Field said in a press release. "We appreciate ESRI’s commitment to improving our local capacity to make better informed decisions."

During the next two years, Friends will use ESRI products to identify nearshore habitat stressors; prioritize habitat restoration opportunities to improve juvenile salmon and forage fish survival; create an incentive program for landowners to improve improperly designed mooring buoys, and help restore eelgrass habitat in San Juan County.

Friends Nearshore Habitat Database currently has more than 2.5 terabytes of environmental/conservation data stored. This will increase to about 4 terabytes by next fall. Some resources that Friends has created using ESRI products include:

Forage Fish Spawning Habitat Mapbook, Eelgrass Habitat Mapbook, the Nearshore Habitat Protection Blueprint, San Juan County Nearshore Impacts Mapbook, Eelgrass Restoration Mapbook, GIS-based Water Quality Monitoring Program, San Juan County Barge Landing Site Mapbook, Best Available Science Data Mapbook, Bull Kelp Habitat Mapping, and the Analysis of Shoreline Permit Activity for San Juan County 1972-2005.

For more information on any of these projects, contact the Friends office at 378-2319 or visit

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