“Puget Sound Champions” to be honored in Hood Canal for Puget Sound cleanup effort–Puget Sound Partnership

Congratulations to these folks, including Jefferson County  WSU Extension program leader, Pat Pearson. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

KINGSTON – The Puget Sound Partnership will honor four “Puget Sound Champions” at a ceremony with the Hood Canal Coordinating Council.
Date:           Wednesday, June 20
Time:           1:00 PM-2:00 PM
Location:     Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Center, located at 31912 Little Boston Road NE in Kingston.
The Puget Sound Partnership is the state agency coordinating the regional effort to cleanup Puget Sound. The Hood Canal Coordinating Council is one of 10 watershed-based councils of governments coordinating with the Partnership to advance regional recovery of Puget Sound.
The awards ceremony will highlight the achievements of the honorees and the ongoing work of the Hood Canal Coordinating Council.
Honorees include: Hood Canal Regional Pollution Identification and Correction Program (a collaboration between Mason County, Jefferson County, Kitsap County, Skokomish Tribe and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe), the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition (a coordinated effort of more than thirty participating partners), Skokomish Estuary Restoration Project, and Pat Pearson with the WSU Jefferson County Extension.
Awards will be presented by Gerry O’Keefe, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership, and Ron Sims, a member of the Partnership’s Leadership Council and former King County Executive.

Washingtonians honored for their oil spill prevention work

OLYMPIA – The state and provincial organization coordinating oil spill prevention and response efforts in the Pacific region will honor two Washingtonians for their tireless efforts to protect state waters from spills, especially Puget Sound.

The Pacific States-British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force will present its 2012 Legacy Awards to Kathy Fletcher, founder of People For Puget Sound, and Eric Olsson, Washington Sea Grant Program – along with recipients from elsewhere in the region – at the organization’s annual Clean Pacific Conference on May 16, 2012, in Long Beach, Calif.

The task force was created in 1989 in the wake of a 231,000-gallon oil spill in December 1988 off the Washington coast near Ocean Shores. The spill fouled beaches from northern Oregon to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Members include oil spill prevention and response agencies in Alaska, British Columbia, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, which is represented by the state Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Fletcher will be recognized for her 30-year leadership role in helping prevent oil spills and improve emergency response in Puget Sound.

In 1983, she led the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, a predecessor of the Puget Sound Partnership. Fletcher founded the non-profit People For Puget Sound in 1991. The latter group has 25 staff members based in Seattle and Olympia with about 10,000 member households.

Through the years, Fletcher participated in multiple stakeholder groups focused on oil spill prevention, preparedness and response in Puget Sound. Under her leadership, People For Puget Sound was instrumental in getting the private maritime industry to station a permanent, year-round emergency response vessel at Neah Bay.

Before funding for the Neah Bay response tug shifted to the private sector in 2010, Fletcher was a driving force for obtaining public funding to station an emergency response vessel at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, starting in 1999.

She retired from People For Puget Sound in June 2011.

“Kathy has left an amazing legacy in protecting Puget Sound from oil spills,” said Ecology Spills Program Manager Dale Jensen. “Since 1999, a Neah Bay response tug has assisted 46 vessels that were either completely disabled or had reduced maneuvering ability and potentially helped prevent thousands of gallons of oil from being spilled to our waters.”

Olsson has worked tirelessly during his tenure at Washington Sea Grant to successfully educate harbormasters, marina operators and boat owners about how to prevent small oil spills to Washington waters. He has provided hundreds of intensive vessel safety workshops for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters and developed an interactive on-line oil spill prevention, preparedness and response training course.

Olsson also helped form the Pacific Oil Spill Prevention Education Team that evolved from the premise that small oil spills can add up, can cause significant environmental and economic harm, and are a regional problem. The team includes representatives from state and federal agencies, industry associations, and nonprofit groups from Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and other parts of the U.S.

Jensen said, “Eric is a state, regional and nationwide leader for oil spill prevention education, and his great work is visible across Washington. I think of Eric every time I see a ‘Spills Aren’t Slick’ sign at a marina, state park or public boat launch, reminding people to immediately notify authorities if they spill oil.”

Additional award recipients are:

  • Capt. Daniel LeBlanc, U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Columbia River.
  • Rusty Nall, Executive Vice President, American Marine Corp. and PENCO.
  • Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO).
  • U.S. Coast Guard SS Montebello Project Team.
%d bloggers like this: