Today, People for Puget Sound announced it’s end. The most effective organization for protecting the Salish Sea, and educating people about it, is now gone.
What People For Puget Sound accomplished was best summed up for me by Dave Peeler, who was the group’s policy director in Olympia for two years.
PFPS was the main and frequently the only environmental group participating in the various state and federal environmental policy forums and committees affecting Puget Sound, including those of the PS Partnership, Ecology, DNR and EPA.
Tom Bancroft’s comments to the press about not knowing the financial status of the organization are simply not accurate. There is nothing more needing saying than that I was there, on the board when he was hired. He knew full well what the situation was. He’s a smart guy, who knows how to read a financial report. But this isn’t about Tom. It’s about the Salish Sea.
People For Puget Sound did more in their 20 years to protect the Sound than any other organization.
People for Puget Sound got things done. Whether lobbying on behalf of the Sound in the halls of power, or cleaning up rivers and beaches, educating people on the Sound, or creating coalitions to solve problems. They were responsible for saving dozens of miles of shoreline, and rehabilitating many more.
People For Puget Sound was responsible for organizing the highly effective “Lobbying Day” in Olympia and brought thousands of citizens to meet their legislators face to face to lobby for environmental issues in regards to the Sound.To be clear, this was a coalition, but People For Puget Sound organized and effectively ran it. Who will fill that gap?
When DNR wanted to expand the Aquatic Reserves a few years ago, it was People For Puget Sound that wrote the proposal, made the nominations and coordinated with DNR to develop the management plans. Many people, including myself, made presentations around the Sound that led to public buy-in and the establishment of the Smith and Minor Islands and Protection Island Aquatic Reserves. Tens of thousands of acres of ocean bottom were protected because of People For Puget Sound’s efforts. Who will fill that gap and do that next time?
Tens of thousands of people were educated through their “Pier Peer” Programs throughout the Sound.There are small but effective local efforts, such as the Marine Science Center in Port Townsend, and the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles, but across the Sound, Who will fill that gap?
But for now, all I see is a hole in the water, where once there was an organization that really mattered. Who can fill that gap? You can. There are dozens of other organizations needing your help and support. Go get involved. It won’t happen without you. I hope to see you out there on the beaches, in the halls of power, and in or on the water doing the real work to Save Our Salish Sea.