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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands Habitat

San Juan Landscape View

Habitat Management

The unique biological features of the San Juan Islands have been the focus of numerous past and present research studies by the University of Washington and others. Approximately 490 acres of BLM land on the southern portion of Lopez Island were designated as an ACEC to provide additional management emphasis for protecting some of these unique natural characteristics.

Dry Forest in the San Juan Islands consists of Douglas-fir, madrone, lodgepole pine (shore pine), and Oregon (Garry) oak. These dry sites are sometimes open and located on rocky and steep, south facing slopes The understory in this type is mostly grasses and forbs. Open grasslands are diminishing due to the invasion of trees into these areas. Without wildland fire or mechanical treatment projects, conifers will continue to expand into native grasslands. As the conifer canopy closes in, grass and shrub cover decline.

Warm Moist Forest on the San Juan Islands is restricted to draws on the southern islands where precipitation is 17+ inches but is more extensive on Patos and Little Patos islands due to the increased precipitation levels of up to 29 inches. Species in moister areas include western red cedar, grand fir, western hemlock, and Douglas-fir. Soils are usually deeper than in drier areas, and are able to support a heavier forest cover. These sites are usually more moist and productive, and protected from wind and salt spray.

Forests classified as North Pacific Maritime Dry-Mesic Douglas-fir-Western Hemlock Forest are the most extensive forest type on BLM lands in the San Juan Islands, occurring at Point Colville, Chadwick Hill, Iceberg Point, Kellett Bluff, Turn Point, and Patos Island. Although the acreage managed by BLM is small, it includes forest stands on Patos Island, Iceberg Point, and Chadwick Hill/Point Colville.

Habitat Restoration

The BLM-administered lands offer exceptional examples of rare or unique island plant and animal communities, including old growth forests, freshwater marshes, and camas meadows. The biological features of the San Juan Islands have been the focus of numerous past and present research studies by the University of Washington and others. Approximately 490 acres of the BLM-administered land on the southern portion of Lopez Island were designated as an ACEC to provide additional management emphasis for protecting these natural characteristics.