Puget Sound Partnership approves Action Agenda to clean up Puget Sound by 2020
OLYMPIA - The Puget Sound Partnership today adopted an Action Agenda to clean up Puget Sound that will not only put Puget Sound on the path to recovery, but will also give a boost to local economies.
The Puget Sound Partnership is a community effort of citizens, governments, tribes, scientists and businesses working together to restore and protect Puget Sound.
The mission given to the Puget Sound Partnership by Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Legislature is to create a real Action Agenda that turns things around and leads to a healthy Puget Sound by 2020.
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who led the charge to create the Partnership, praised the Action Agenda - as well as its potential to create green-collar jobs and maintain vital industries.
"I am proud of the Puget Sound Partnership for completing, on a very tight timeline, such an ambitious task," Gregoire said. "Recent headlines about disappearing orcas and the overwhelming amount of toxic chemicals inundating the Sound confirm that inaction is not an option.
"The Sound's health is vital not only to our quality of life, but to our economy. At a critical time, this Action Agenda will result in the creation of hundreds, if not thousands, of green-collar jobs throughout the region. The Action Agenda will also help maintain a strong tourism, seafood and boating industry. I know that with everyone working together, we can have both a thriving Puget Sound economy and a healthy Puget Sound ecosystem."
New analysis supporting the Action Agenda identifies some alarming facts and trends related to the health of Puget Sound. Each year, 52 million pounds of toxic chemicals - or nearly 150,000 pounds per day - inundate Puget Sound with contaminated runoff. This amounts to a toxic spill the size of Exxon Valdez every two years. The toxic chemicals include oil and petroleum products, lead, and phthalates - and 1 million pounds of toxic metals such as zinc and copper.
"These disturbing numbers are putting more than 40 species in Puget Sound at risk, including the Sound's orca population, where we just saw a decline of nearly 10 percent in the past several months," said the Partnership's Executive Director David Dicks.
For the first time, the Action Agenda provides critical data and a strategy for tackling these threats to the waters in and around Puget Sound. Its four cornerstones are driven by the latest available science and are results-oriented:
- Protect the last remaining intact places.
- Restore damaged and polluted sites to health.
- Stop water pollution at its source.
- Coordinate all protection, restoration and cleanup efforts.
Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, chief architect of the 2007 legislation that established the Partnership, pledged his commitment to getting the Action Agenda implemented.
"Protecting the Puget Sound is a top priority for me, and I'm pleased to see it is for the state as well," Rockefeller said. "We can't wait any longer to address the critical environmental needs of the region, this place we cherish as our home. The adoption of the Puget Sound Partnership's Action Agenda provides a blueprint for cleaning up the Sound. I'm committed to doing all I can to assure we follow through."
"As chair of the Ecosystem Coordinating Board, I appreciate that there has been an important role for the implementers at the local and regional level in the development of the Action Agenda. The Action Agenda makes the compelling case for why Puget Sound needs to be recovered and why we must all work together now if the recovery is to succeed," added King County Executive Ron Sims.
The Action Agenda addresses four key questions:
1. What is a healthy Puget Sound?
2. What is the current status of Puget Sound and what are the biggest threats to it?
3. What actions must be taken to move from where we are today to a healthy Puget Sound by 2020?
4. Where do we start?
It is intended to be a living and adaptable guide for use by federal and state agencies, Indian tribes, city and county governments, business and environmental organizations, watershed groups, and individual landowners as they take action to protect and restore the Sound.
The Action Agenda's adoption follows nearly 18 months of outreach to and collaboration with scientists, policy experts, business and environmental interests, Indian tribes, all levels of government, and local communities throughout the Sound.
The Partnership today fulfilled its statutory obligation to submit the Action Agenda to the Legislature by Dec. 1.
With the Action Agenda adopted, the Partnership will now focus on implementation of clean up and restoration work, including:
- Developing an accountability system for achieving results, including performance, effectiveness and the efficient use of money spent on cleanup; and
- Promoting public awareness about the state of the Sound and what people can do to bring it back to health.
Source: Government of Washington
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