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Sound clean-up meeting set in Port Angeles
The partnership was created by the state Legislature to coordinate regional efforts into a sound-wide program to clean up, maintain and help the sound. The partnerships listed priorities will be merged with local programs to create an action agenda including current status of the sound, threats and the sequence of steps to make it healthy again.
To fully understand the threats and potential mitigation steps in the Strait of Juan de Fuca along the North Olympic Peninsula, the partnership is holding a meeting to hear from the public and other involved parties from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, July 17, at the Red Lion Inn, 221 N. Lincoln St. on Port Angeles waterfront.
Whether you live, work or play on Puget Sound, or just enjoy its undeniable beauty, you have a stake in its recovery and I hope, feel a sense of responsibility to pass on its legacy to future generations, said David Dicks, executive director of the partnership.
To determine the priorities, the partnership engaged regional scientists, policy experts and concerned citizens in a series of workshops. The group inventoried activities on the sound and conducted public meetings similar to the one scheduled in Port Angeles. The result was 1,200 pages of comment, 500 people attending five public meetings and a vast amount of scientific input.
Now the partnership wants the public to review the process and help determine steps to challenge threats in their local areas.
The broad, enthusiastic public participation in the development of the action agenda has been overwhelming so far and we look forward to further conversation through the month of July, Dicks said.
While the initial four priorities are broad, they will be used to categorize and prioritize local projects that could be funded, at least in part, through the partnership.
• The first priority is to ensure that activities and funding are focused on the most urgent and important problems facing the sound. The state began instituting environmental regulations, policies and projects decades ago. However, the efforts frequently operate as distinct programs with separate goals, staffs, budgets and regulatory constraints. The partnership wants to align programs to create a cumulative and intertwined effect on the sound.
• The second priority is to protect the intact ecosystem processes that sustain Puget Sound. This proactive step helps maintain what is still operating in the waterway so the state will not need to react after they are lost, which is more difficult and expensive.
• The third priority is to implement restoration projects that will re-establish ecosystem processes in the sound. The partnership indicated in its report that the existing healthy ecosystems are not enough to sustain the sounds health on a larger scale and the restoration of troubled areas is essential.
• The final priority is to prevent sources of water pollution. The state cannot clean up the sound if it continues to be polluted. So, to ensure the success of other programs it must limit the amount of pollution entering the sound both from single polluters and non-point-source polluters, such as inefficient stormwater management techniques.
To learn more about the Puget Sound Partnership, its pending action agenda and its priority report, visit www.psp.wa.gov.