Puget Sound Partnership steadfast in science-based solutions to environmental threats

Puget Sound Partnership steadfast in science-based solutions to environmental threats

By Christopher Dunagan
*2/5/11 Kitsap Sun

Puget Sound Partnership has suffered some serious “growing pains” through its first three years, yet the agency retains widespread support from many political, business, environmental and tribal leaders.More than a few people are questioning why the partnership has taken so long to provide a basic road map for restoring Puget Sound to health. And some question whether the agency’s complex organizational structure may be hindering its progress.

But the partnership’s guiding principle of allowing science to point the way continues to generate optimism, as the agency moves forward under acting Director Gerry O’Keefe.

…. Kathy Fletcher, executive director of People for Puget Sound, serves on the Eco Board. Before she started People for Puget Sound 20 years ago, Fletcher chaired the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority — the first entity to tackle pollution issues in Puget Sound.

Fletcher said she supports the science-based goals of the partnership, but the agency has spent an inordinate amount of time setting up systems of accountability.

“They have spent far too long establishing the basic stuff they set out to do,” she said. “I would rather see them put their energy into getting things done. The good news, when you look back over this period of time, is that a lot of good things have happened that are going to benefit Puget Sound.”

For example, the recession brought in federal stimulus dollars to remove “ghost nets” and other derelict fishing gear throughout Puget Sound, she said. Massive restoration projects include the Nisqually estuary renovation near Olympia and the upcoming dam removal on the Elwha River near Port Angeles.

Fletcher said the partnership has a “really good shot” to prove itself this year, as a multitude of reports and recommendations focus attention on what needs to be done for Puget Sound.

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