Puget Sound Partnership Leader Highlights Year’s Accomplishments

Just in from Executive Director Tony Wright on the accomplishments of the Puget Sound Partnership and the associated partners who they have helped fund.  Remember that the Partnership’s work is to help coordinate and prioritize the various players in the recovery efforts, and establish ongoing monitoring to let us know if we are making progress or not. While there has been much criticism of the Partnership, it’s perhaps expecting too much from a political organization that reports to the Governor. It would just be nice to see them show up for more meetings that impact their work, such as taking public stands for Shoreline Master Plans rather than letting a few dedicated local activists take all the heat. If we are going to be their foot soldiers maybe they should pay us instead of their staff in Tacoma! (all in good humour).

And now, Tony’s assessment:

December 19, 2012

Dear Puget Sound partner,

As I reflect on the many accomplishments of 2012, I want to thank our more than 750 partner organizations throughout Puget Sound who are working together to reverse more than 100 years of human impact on this ecosystem. Our 2012 State of the Sound reportshows that your work has indeed slowed the decline of Puget Sound, but our current pace will not get us where we need to be by 2020. We need to build on our successes, continue to collaborate and accelerate our actions.

This week Governor Gregoire proposed a budget that includes a strong investment in Puget Sound recovery. Her proposal gives significant support to the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, the Puget Sound Estuary and Salmon Restoration Fund and other key programs that mark a vital start in restoring a fishable, swimmable, diggable Puget Sound.

We also celebrate the hard work of our many partners working to advance projects in their communities and their own backyards. This year we created a “Puget Sound Champions” award to honor those, chosen by their peers, who serve as outstanding examples of how we can advance our ecosystem recovery effort. Each of our individual actions is integral to our collective success.

By working together as a region, we are able to coordinate funding and human capital on high-priority, science-based projects. This update highlights some of the recent successes, including:

  • Habitat restoration and flood prevention projects at Port Susan Bay
  • 280 acres of shellfish beds reopening for harvest in Hood Canal
  • Salmon returning to Midway Creek after 100 years

As we move into 2013, we welcome Governor Inslee to what has become a mass movement guided by both science and passion for Puget Sound. To all of our partners, thank you for tirelessly championing Puget Sound protection and restoration. You are the key to saving Puget Sound. Please contact me at executive.director@psp.wa.gov with your questions and to share more success stories.

Anthony Wright


Flood protection and habitat restoration celebrated in Port Susan Bay
On Dec. 5, we celebrated the completion of two Port Susan Bay restoration projects that improved flood protection for farmers and restored habitat for salmon, birds, and other wildlife. This 150-acre restoration effort was a true collaboration success story that involved The Nature Conservancy staff, local officials, neighboring landowners, farm organizations, tribes and federal and state agencies all working cooperatively on the project from its inception. These projects supported more than 130 jobs and restored natural functions to more than 4,000 acres of tidelands in the northern end of Port Susan Bay. More big-picture projects like these are needed to make Puget Sound restoration a reality. These projects were funded in part by Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration funds, which are locally prioritized and scientifically evaluated through a collaborative process led by the Puget Sound Partnership and funded by the Legislature. Read more at: http://bit.ly/SVDMwA
280 acres of shellfish beds upgraded in Hood Canal
Thanks to hard work in Hood Canal, our region is 51 percent of the way to reaching our goal of opening 7,000 acres of shellfish beds between 2007 and 2020. On Dec. 4, the Department of Health officially upgraded an additional 280 acres of Hood Canal shellfish beds in Mason County from “prohibited” to “approved” for recreational and commercial harvest. When we upgrade shellfish areas it means that water quality has improved, and that means the hard work of many partners is paying off. Read more at: http://1.usa.gov/UCm2V6

70 acres of habitat protected by the Suquamish Tribe and Mountaineers
The Suquamish Tribe is showing great leadership in their work to protect and restore the Chico Creek watershed. They recently partnered with the Mountaineers Foundation and others to acquire 70 acres of high-quality Puget Sound lowland habitat in this watershed, for a total of 484 acres that will now be in protected conservation status. The majority of funding for this acquisition is from Puget Sound Federal Funding granted for habitat protection and restoration from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Suquamish Tribe. The Puget Sound Action Agenda identifies protecting intact habitat as a key priority in Kitsap County, one of the most urban areas of our region.

Salmon return to Midway Creek after more than 100 years
The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group has reported that after more than 100 years of no salmon in Mason County’s Midway Creek, dozens of spawning pairs of coho salmon have been sighted. Thanks to Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Funds (PSAR), administered by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, a 70-foot-long fish passage culvert was installed in July to allow salmon to enter the Goldsborough Creek Floodplain. PSAR funds are locally prioritized and scientifically evaluated through a collaborative process led by the Puget Sound Partnership and funded by the Legislature. The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group partnered with Simpson Lumber, Squaxin Island Tribe, Green Diamond Resource Company, Miles Sand and Gravel, and others to help make this happen.
Read more at: http://bit.ly/Z0Smrz

Governor announces actions to protect shellfish from ocean acidification
On Nov. 27 Gov. Chris Gregoire signed an executive order supporting the recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. The science is clear that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide are dramatically altering the ocean’s chemistry at an alarming rate. The acidification of our waters increases the risk to our shellfish, the health of our oceans, and the wealth of benefits they provide. Washington state is the first to develop a plan of action to tackle ocean acidification and the Partnership will support our partners in implementing the findings and actions of the Blue Ribbon Panel’s scientific findings. You can read the Governor’s Executive Order at: http://1.usa.gov/UUu5yV

King County enforces waterfront septic inspections, repairs with fines
Shellfish areas open to recreational, tribal and commercial harvesters are threatened because of contamination originating from septic systems. King County recently took the final step in the enforcement process, issuing a $25-a-day fines to a handful of Vashon Island residents who the County says have not had their septic systems inspected or repaired. Protecting public health and Puget Sound go hand in hand. We must continue working to provide low-interest loans to help residents upgrade and repair septic systems, while enforcing standards to prevent water pollution. 
Read more at: http://1.usa.gov/12lPqDJ

Puget Sound Partnership promotes transparency and accountability
The Partnership’s Project Atlas and Report Card were featured during a seminar on Nov. 14 at the Capitol Rotunda as part of the worldwide celebration of GIS Day, the annual salute to geospatial technology and its power to transform and better people’s lives. The event demonstrated how GIS technology is being applied in Washington state. The Puget Sound Project Atlas GIS application shows the location, cost and status of restoration projects related to Puget Sound protection and restoration. The Action Agenda Report Card helps show progress on the Puget Sound Action Agenda, with information that can be sorted by city, county, and legislative district. Both resources promote transparency and accountability for Puget Sound recovery efforts.
Puget Sound Project Atlas: http://1.usa.gov/VXdbSK
Action Agenda Report Card: http://1.usa.gov/VKOiWH

Puget Sound Champions honored
Puget Sound Champion awards recognize outstanding local partners for their contributions to the ecosystem recovery effort. These individuals and organizations are chosen by their peers for their exceptional work protecting and restoring habitat, cleaning up polluted water, and engaging the community in implementing the Action Agenda – the Partnership’s regional plan to clean up Puget Sound. Please join us in congratulating the following recipients.
Gov. Chris Gregoire (presented Nov. 20) http://1.usa.gov/Zhp2fi

Island County Champions (presented Nov. 28): http://1.usa.gov/Zhp3zT

  • Nancy Waddell with Whidbey Watershed Stewards
  • Pat Powell with Whidbey Camano Land Trust
  • A One Day University from WSU Beach Watchers for Sound Waters
  • Christine Longdon with CamOcean Day at Cama Beach

West Sound / North Central (Kitsap County) Champions (presented Nov. 30):http://1.usa.gov/VXdnl1

  • City of Bremerton Public Works & Utilities, Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Board, members and greens crew of the Kitsap Golf & Country Club
  • City of Poulsbo Engineering Department
  • Kitsap Home Builders Association
  • Kitsap Conservation District
  • Chris Dunagan with the Kitsap Sun

Whatcom County Champions (presented Dec. 5): http://1.usa.gov/SVDZQb

  • Whatcom Conservation District’s Conservation Reserve Enforcement Program
  • Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association’s Streamside Habitat Restoration Program
  • Whatcom County Special District Riparian Program
  • Whatcom Water Weeks

For more information on other Puget Sound Champions, visit http://www.psp.wa.gov/champions.php.

One Response

  1. I don’t think the Partnership organization has anyone, or any little piece of the organization structure, that is responsible for doing outreach and connections with the local activity groups and the broader public. I live in Skagit County and we almost never see or hear from them – I attended many days of Beachwatcher training this past spring, with presentations from many agencies that participate in the Partnership. The Puget Sound Partnership was never ever mentioned by anyone and we did not have a class session devoted to it.

    It dismays me that they act like the job needing doing can be done without broad, local public support.

    I hope more people remind them of that, because a lot of good things are happening but need a royal big boost!

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