Why You Should Visit
Yellow Island is among the most colorful of The Nature Conservancy’s preserves, long known to passengers aboard Washington’s San Juan Islands ferries for its dramatic wildflower displays. The small island’s springtime floral display is greater than that of any similar-sized area in the 170-island San Juan archipelago.
Why TNC Selected this Site
The grasslands on Yellow Island are unique in the Puget Sound lowlands. An absence of historic grazing helped preserve the unusual diversity of native plants. This also prevented them from being overrun by non-native species. The opportunity to purchase the entire island in 1979 allowed TNC to protect this fragile system.
What TNC is Doing
TNC has carried out an extensive ecological research program on Yellow Island since 1980. Ongoing studies have focused on understanding the extent and rate of invasion of the grasslands by woody species, controlling and reversing this encroachment, and developing strategies for restoring native species where they have been locally eliminated. The results have been shared with partner organizations and agencies to help maintain and restore grasslands throughout the Puget Sound lowlands.
This work is being done by TNC ecologists, land stewards (who live on Yellow Island year-round), and numerous volunteers. These efforts have been supported by generous donations from visitors, TNC members, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.