Perch, herring, a three-spined stickleback, oh my!

“It was great to gather with neighbors, see the fish that are in our backyard, and learn how to be better stewards for this special place,” Lopez Island's Gary Bergren said.

Staghorn sculpin, pacific herring, three kinds of perch and a three-spined stickleback were among the many creatures that captured the interest and imagination of those in attendance at an educational event at Lopez Island’s Mud and Hunter bays.

Co-sponsored by Friends of the San Juans and local fisherman Randy O’Bryant, the Mud bay seineopportunity to learn more about one of the San Juans biological “hot spots” drew more than 20 people to Mud Bay waterfront May 17.

“It was great to gather with neighbors, see the fish that are in our backyard, and learn how to be better stewards for this special place,” Lopez Island’s Gary Bergren said.

Friends Katie Fleming, director of community engagement, said that event participants found hundreds of incubating surf smelt eggs in the sand at the high tide, and that a beach seine yielded many juvenile and adult surf smelt, and a host of other shallow-water species common to the San Juans, such as bay pipefish, snake prickleback, starry flounder, greenling, multiple species of gunnel, juvenile flatfish, crabs and the “eelgrass sea slug” (Phyllaplysia taylori).

The event was also made possible by Lopez Island’s Ron Mayo, who allowed access to the beach where the event took place, located on the south end of Lopez Sound.

Friends of the San Juans offers property owners technical assistance in preserving, protecting and restoring shoreline habitat. For more information, contact Friends Science Director Tina Whitman, 360-378-2319, or visit www.sanjuans.org.