University of Washington San Juan Archipelago Biological Preserves

Management Policies for the FHL Marine Preserves can be found here.

This page is an edited version of the original written by Dr. Claudia E. Mills. Original page here.

The University of Washington owns and maintains a series of biological preserves in the San Juan Islands. The five preserves are the Friday Harbor Laboratories Biological Preserve, the Cedar Rock Preserve, the Fred and Marilyn Ellis Biological Preserve, the False Bay Biological Preserve, and the Argyle Lagoon Biological Preserve.

The overarching goals for these properties are to maintain and restore native biodiversity and ecosystem function and to facilitate education and research that is consistent with these goals; a secondary goal is to maintain important parts of the cultural landscape.

Friday Harbor Laboratories Biological Preserve, San Juan Island

Friday Harbor Laboratories Biological Preserve
Friday Harbor Laboratories Biological Preserve

This is a 476 acre property, a former U.S. Military Reserve that was transferred to the University of Washington in 1921 by the federal government for the purpose of a biological station and for general university research purpose. The southern portion is developed as a residential teaching and research campus, including 12 separate laboratory buildings, 2 lecture halls, the Whiteley study center, a library, computer lab, administrative offices, stockroom, dining hall, dormitories and other housing units.

Dr. Tom Schroeder, cell biologist who worked at the Friday Harbor Laboratories for nearly 30 years, has written a 500 year history of the property that now comprises the Preserve and some surrounding land. A baseline inventory of the plants present on the FHL Preserve, by habitat type, was made by Claudia Mills and others between 2001 and 2005, and includes some data from earlier collections.

Cedar Rock Preserve, Shaw Island

Cedar Rock Preserve, Shaw Island
Cedar Rock Preserve, Shaw Island

This is a 370 acre property given to the University of Washington by Robert Ellis of Shaw Island.

Cedar Rock Management Plan (pdf)

Fred and Marilyn Ellis Biological Preserve, Shaw Island

Point George peninsula, Fred and Marilyn Ellis Biological Preserve, Shaw Island
Point George peninsula, Fred and Marilyn Ellis Biological Preserve, Shaw Island

This Preserve consists of 496 acres in three large, non-contiguous properties composed of thirteen parcels that were given to the University of Washington by Fred and Marilyn Ellis of Shaw Island.

False Bay Biological Preserve, San Juan Island

False Bay Biological Preserve
False Bay Biological Preserve

Purchased by the University of Washington in 1974 this preserve includes most of the approximately 300 acres of tidelands in False Bay and a 23.3 acre upland property. The False Bay purchase resulted in the University of Washington owning all tidelands in False Bay from shoreline to mean low water except from high tide line out.

Argyle Lagoon Biological Preserve, San Juan Island

Argyle Lagoon, San Juan Island, with tidal creek entrance on the left
Argyle Lagoon, San Juan Island, with tidal creek entrance on the left

This is a 14 acre property that includes all of the Argyle Lagoon tidelands (12.3 acres classified as oysterlands by the State) including part of a tidal creek, and a 1.7 acre upland parcel.

Argyle Creek and Argyle Lagoon are frequently visited by UW Friday Harbor Labs biology classes and are usually the site of several ongoing research projects.

Back to Top