WDFW offering up to $1,000 to encourage hunting on private property in San Juan and Island Counties

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
July 16, 2019
Contacts: Ruth Milner, (360) 466-4345, ext. 265; cell: (360) 631-1733
Rob Wingard, (360) 466-4345, ext. 240; Jason Wettstein, 360-902-2254

WDFW offering up to $1,000 to encourage hunting on private property in San Juan and Island Counties

Deer populations threaten islands’ natural diversity, including a butterfly found nowhere else

LA CONNER---The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is working to solve a problem more than a century in the making--overpopulation of deer that is putting pressure on birds, insects, and native plants on island habitats.

“Humans largely extirpated the predators on the islands as far back as the 1860’s,” said Ruth Milner, WDFW biologist. “And, with fewer people hunting the islands, deer are over browsing native vegetation, which means less habitat for other species.”

The stakes are high, including survival of the Island Marble butterfly, found nowhere except on San Juan Island.

Thought to be extinct since 1908, the butterfly was re-discovered by biologists during a prairie survey in San Juan Island National Historical Park in 1998. 

The butterfly largely depends on tumble mustard. They lay their eggs on mustard flower buds, and their newly hatched larvae depend on mustard blossoms and leaves for food, said Milner.

Deer eat the mustard when other plants have been depleted, and thereby threaten the butterflies with extinction, she added. 

One solution: encourage hunting to reduce deer populations through a private lands hunting access program. 

“It is a win-win-win for the islands,” said Rob Wingard, a private lands access manager with WDFW. “If a property meets the criteria for a safe and productive hunt, we can work together with landowners to help native species, reduce islanders’ problems with deer and traffic hazards, and provide a unique experience for hunters seeking new places to find plentiful deer.”

Very little publicly owned land exists in in the islands, so for many hunters, finding a place to go hunting is a huge challenge, he adds.

Landowners who participate may qualify for up to $1,000. Funds for the hunting access portion of this project come to WDFW through the United States Farm Bill – the primary agricultural and food policy legislation of the federal government. 

“We are not expecting this source of funding for hunting access via the Farm Bill on the islands in future years, so our ability to pay landowners is for this fall’s deer season only,” said Wingard.

Wingard works with WDFW’s private lands access program, a service of the Department that is little known on the islands, but vital in efforts to manage wildlife for recreation and game conservation.

To take part, island residents with more than five acres should contact Wingard directly at (360) 466-4345, ext. 240 or by email at Robert.Wingard@dfw.wa.gov to set up an appointment.

“If your land qualifies, you can make up to $1,000 and provide benefits to native species,” said Wingard.

Landowners can specify how many hunters may hunt at one time, where they are allowed to go on the property, and decide which days they can come, but under this program, they can’t specify who is allowed access, he said. 

“Deer are a public resource belonging to all the citizens of Washington, so all hunters who buy a hunting license are eligible to participate in the private lands access program,” said Wingard.

Those who qualify and enroll in the program will benefit from liability protections under state law and will be involved in assessing options for how to match their needs with hunters looking for a spot to hunt, he said. Hunters would gain access to private lands only after any concerns with safety or land access from either the agency or the landowner are resolved.

“Deer are native to the islands and a valuable component of the ecosystem,” says Milner. “That said, their high populations are decimating plants that are food for a whole host of other species, so we are looking for ways to reduce their numbers.”

Other solutions the agency is exploring include working to create and secure voluntary agreements with landowners that encourage habitat conservation and partnering with federal, county, and non-profit organizations to create protected habitat for Island Marble butterflies on San Juan and Lopez islands.

Non-game conservation management and work are funded by state wildlife grants, federal grants, and other sources. 

Hunting access and hunting opportunities in the state are supported by sales of hunting licenses, among other sources. WDFW license revenue from hunting goes entirely toward management of game and lands to provide hunting opportunities, often creating benefits for both game and non-game species.

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. This work--financed by the Farm Bill and other sources--demonstrates on the ground efforts to meet this mandate.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.

San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit 2019

This year San Juan Island will host the annual San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit on February 2-3, 2019.

Click here to order tickets

Gather with more than 150 local farmers, food producers, businesses, and advocates for a weekend filled with education, inspiration and community.

We are proud to host Dr. Heidi Roop, of the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group as this year's Keynote Speaker. Dr. Roop is a climate scientist with a passion for science, communication, and community co-production of knowledge. Her keynote, "From Coastlines to Crops: What Climate Change Means for the Puget Sound" is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Full Summit Schedule is NOW LIVE

Click here to view the lastest Summit Schedule (updated Jan 8)

Please note sessions and times are subject to change.

Ticket Prices:

Saturday half-day workshops:

$25 pre-registered

$30 At the Door

Sunday Sessions:

$60 Early Bird Registration (December 1-31)

$75 Regular Admission (January 1-29)

$85 At the Door

While the content is geared toward an adult audience, children are welcome to attend free of charge. Please email us at sji.agsummit@wsu.edu for the free youth registration code.

Summit Overview:

Saturday morning and afternoon will consist of several extended and hands-on workshops in a variety of locations on San Juan Island. Location details will be emailed to participants the week of the event.

We invite the whole community to join us Saturday evening at Brickworks for a fun evening of food, drink and socializing at the Summit Hoedown. Enjoy live music and great local food for the whole family!

Sunday morning we will gather to learn and be inspired at Friday Harbor Middle School. This year we will offer twelve 1.5 hour Sessions on four different tracks including Farm Marketing and Finance, Agricultural Programs and Policy, Production, and Community Perspectives. Sessions will cover an array of topics including fruit production, soil and pasture management, local climate change impacts, farm marketing and much more.

See Summit Schedule for full details of Workshops and Sessions.

All workshops and sessions are subject to change. We have posted a tentative schedule of all events with registration launch and will update it as we finalize the offerings.

Scholarships and Work Trade:

If you are in financial need, please consider applying for a scholarship or for work-trade. Our scholarships can cover full registration costs for Saturday and Sunday. Alternatively, you can work during the Summit for 4 hours in exchange for 50% off all registration costs. This is a great way to meet awesome people, and contribute to the success of the Summit while saving some money.

Click here for the Scholarship Application

Click here for the Work-trade Application

The priority deadline for these has passed, but we will continue to review applications in January as space allows. We have a limited number of each of these, and applications will be reviewed as they come in. If you are interested, please turn in your application as soon as possible.

General information:

For questions or concerns, contact us a sji.agsummit@wsu.edu or call (360) 370-7667.

Make an investment in our local agricultural community by becoming a sponsor. The generosity of our Sponsors is greatly appreciated and will be noted in our Summit materials. Sponsorships support our ability to provide scholarships and keep our registration costs low. Contact us for more information about our sponsorship packages

Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact sji.agsummit@wsu.edu or 360 370-7667 at least two weeks prior to the event. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.


Where can I contact the organizer with any questions? Email sji.agsummit@wsu.edu or 360 370-7667.

Is there lodging available? There are great places to stay on Friday Harbor. For a list we suggest the SJI Visitor's Bureau or the Friday Harbor Chamber of Commerce

I can’t stay the night. Can I still attend? Workshops, Sessions and social events have been scheduled to accommodate the interisland ferry schedule.

Is my registration/ticket transferrable? Sorry, we are not able to accommodate transfer requests.

Can I register the day of the event? Yes, there will be registration available Saturday & Sunday mornings. Day-of registration will be more expensive.

Can I update my registration information? Yes, you can add new tickets by going to the Eventbrite site.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? It will make registration easier, but we will also have a list.

What is the refund policy? We offer refunds on all tickets (minus $20 processing fee) up to January 19th.

How can I help support this great effort? We are seeking donations to support scholarships and volunteers to help at the events. Please select the donation ticket, funds will go to making the San Juan Island Agricultural Summit more affordable and will enable more scholarships. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities please contact sji.agsummit@wsu.edu

Thank you to our generous Summit Sponsors:

Sustaining Sponsors ($1,000+)

Tap Root Farm

Skagit Farmers Supply

Oak Knoll Farm

Farm Champion ($400-$999)

San Juan Island Grange

Island Petroleum Services

Farmer ($200-$399)

Scratch and Peck Feeds

Northwest Agriculture Business Center

Friends of Farms ($50-$100)

Sunset Builders

Lopez Locavores

Skagit Valley Food Co-op

Thank you to our 2019 Partners:

Washington State University San Juan County Extension, Agricultural Resources Committee of San Juan County, Oak Knoll Farm, San Juan County, San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild, San Juan Islands Conservation District, San Juan Island Farmers Market, San Juan Island Food Co-op.

The event is supported in part by USDA -NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Award #: 2016-70017-25526

Board Elections Update

The San Juan Islands Conservation District Board of Supervisors hereby informs the voting public that the incumbent has been re-elected to the currently open seat by reason of being the only person filing for the position by the filing deadline.  Therefore, no poll site, absentee balloting or mail balloting will be performed pursuant to WAC 135-110-370.  For further information, please contact the District at 360-378-6621.

San Juan Islands Conservation District ELECTIONS


San Juan Islands Conservation District

Resolution #2018-1


November 30, 2018


WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors of the San Juan Islands Conservation District (“District”) operates under the laws of the State of Washington applicable to conservation districts.


WHEREAS the District is governed by a five-member board, as set out in RCW

Chapter 89.08 and WAC Section 135-110.


It is RESOLVED that a mail-in election for an open position on the District board of Supervisors will be held on January 25, 2019 from 8:00am until noon at the San Juan Islands Conservation District office, 530 Guard Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.


The elected position whose term is expiring in May 2019 is currently held by David Bill.

Interested candidates must be registered voters who reside within the boundaries of the District. Candidates may be required to be landowners or operators of a farm, depending on the current composition of the District board of supervisors. The filing deadline for candidates to file their candidate information is December 28, 2018 by 5:00pm. Interested candidates must file

their candidate information at the following location San Juan Islands Conservation District office, 530 Guard Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.


Eligible voters are registered voters who reside within the boundaries of the District. The last day and time that voters can request mail-in ballots from the District is January 4, 2019 by 5:00pm. Mail-in ballots can be requested from San Juan Islands Conservation District, Phyllis Clem, 530 Guard Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, 360-378-6621, phyllis@sjicd.org.


The election supervisor will be Phyllis Clem.


A conservation district supervisor is a public official who serves without compensation and who sets policy and direction for the conservation district. The published election procedures can be viewed at the District office and are available from the Washington State Conservation Commission at http://scc.wa.gov/.


Adopted at a regular board meeting of the District Board of Supervisors on

November 30, 2018.

San Juan Islands Conservation District Board of Supervisors Election Notice

The San Juan Islands Conservation District Board of Supervisors will hold a meeting on Friday, November 30, 2018 at 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM at 530 Guard Street, Friday Harbor, WA to adopt a resolution setting the date, time, and location of an election to fill a Conservation District Supervisor’s expiring term. Please note: future election information will be posted ONLY on the San Juan Islands Conservation District web site: sanjuanislandscd.org.

Puget Sound Orca Recovery Day

Photograph Copyright Ray Pfortner;  raypfortner.com

Photograph Copyright Ray Pfortner; raypfortner.com

11AM – 3PM

Sat, Nov 10th, rain or shine, so prepare activities for inclement weather

San Juan Island, Jackson Beach Friday Harbor

Join us on San Juan Island, the Southern Resident Killer Whale summer stomping grounds for several concurrent hands on projects, educational activities, and speaker series:

  • beach clean-up to remove pollutants from the marine food chain

  • demonstrations on non-fossil fuel clean energy options that can help you make the shift away from carbon and/or hydro-electric power

  • familiarize yourself with native landscaping, rain gardens and other simple things you can do at home to reduce the toxicity of stormwater pollution

  • learn about alternative, Orca friendly, whale site-seeing recommendations

  • hear about Coast Salish canoe culture promoting healthy waterways from Samish tribal member Sam Barr

What is the Puget Sound Orca Recovery Day?

A region wide day of action to connect people to Puget Sound, our critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, and the work we all need to do to save them. A celebration of the place we call home and the most iconic species of the Pacific Northwest. Ten Conservation Districts across the Puget Sound will host restoration events that address two of the primary causes of Orca whale decline: malnutrition due to salmon scarcity and increasing water pollution. Events will include salmon stream restoration plantings, rain garden installations, and marine shoreline restoration. Each event will also feature educational programming to inspire participants with ideas of what they can do every day to help orca recovery.

Why: The Southern Resident Killer Whales that call Puget Sound home are critically endangered. In the past few months alone, two of our local orcas died from a combination of malnutrition, polluted waters, and stress from local boat traffic. The local population is down to only 74 orcas. We must act now if we're going to save the most iconic species of the Pacific Northwest and it will take people from across the region joining in to do so.

Puget Sound Conservation Districts are proud to provide folks around the region the chance to take action on this critical issue.

When: Saturday, November 10, 2018. 11:00am - 3:00pm San Juan Island, Location TBD

For More information please contact Erin or Ryan at the San Juan Islands Conservation District 360-378-6621.

Erin@SJICD.org or Ryan@SJICD.org

Or drop by our office in Friday Harbor

530 Guard St

Friday Harbor, WA 9825t