TIME FOR CITIZENS TO GET INVOLVED
It was in the early 1920’s that local shellfish growers noticed pollution in Puget Sound. Since then, there have been several sporadic efforts at the state and federal level to control pollution. In 2005, Governor Chris Gregoire pledged to restore Puget Sound to a clean and healthy condition by 2020. Funding to start off this initiative was approved by the legislature in April 2006. In 2007, the legislature created the Puget Sound Partnership to bring new energy to the task of restoring the Sound to health by 2020.
The Puget Sound Partnership
The Puget Sound Partnership is a state agency responsible for developing and “Action Agenda” by December 1, 2008 that will put the Sound on the path to health by 2020. The Partnership will also compile the available science and information about the state of the Sound, coordinate the efforts that are currently being made by various organizations, coordinate available resources and finally, hold these implementers of the Action Agenda accountable for money spent and for results for the Sound. The Partnership, in turn, will be answerable to the Governor, legislature, and citizens and is ultimately accountable, by law, for achieving the goal of a healthy Puget Sound by 2020.
The single most crucial element of this endeavor is public participation. With the aim of making the development of the Agenda a truly participative and transparent process, and also to gather local information about the state of the Sound in the respective Action Areas, the Partnership held a series of public workshops in March 2008. Next will come all-important public meetings later in 2008 on the issues, stormwater pollution, oil spills, habitat destruction, endangered species, dead zones, lax enforcement, lack of funding and accountability – all the woes of the Sound have solutions, and the next round of meetings, called Topic Forums, will give scientists, policy experts and stakeholders a chance to tell the Partnership how to fix these and other problems in the Action Agenda.
As part of the Action Agenda process, five topic forums have been planned by the partnership from April 22 to May 5. These meetings aim to consolidate available knowledge of the issues and the related management systems being used today. They further aim to discuss the guiding principles and benchmarks needed to implement guiding strategies. Each topic forum will be led by an expert selected by the Partnership and assisted by a team of scientists and policy experts. Each topic forum will have four discussion papers to work with that will be available on the Partnership’s web page on April 14. Topic Forum papers are available on the Partnership’s web site (http://www.psp.wa.gov/aa_topic_forum_videos_human_health.php
) and to read shorter, one and two page, summaries of People For Puget Sound’s analysis of the topic forum papers, please go to http://www.pugetsound.org/publications/papers/issues.
While the topic forums have been convened the boating community will have several opportunities this summer to participate in public workshops to help identify solutions and actions that need to be included in the Partnership’s Action Agenda in order for a successful recovery of our beloved Puget Sound.. The maritime community’s participation will be critical.
We encourage the all stakeholders to attend these forums.
The schedule for the topic forums is out and is listed below:
Landmark Convention Center
Washington State Convention & Trade Center
Kitsap Conference Center - Fountain Room
TOC Conference Center
Edmonds Conference Center
Integration of All Topic Forums
People For Puget Sound
People for Puget Sound is working to ensure this public participation in the creation of the Action Agenda by disseminating information about issues and meetings, generating support and attendance, and inviting feedback. Why?
"Citizens must do more than accept the plan; they must become knowledgeable, enthusiastic advocates for Puget Sound and be willing to practice what the plan preaches. The future of the Sound depends upon a massive effort to change the attitudes and habits of everyone who lives in the Puget Sound basin." [Editorial in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, 1986.]
This vividly sums up the reasons for inviting public participation in the creation of the Action Agenda. This quote refers to the earlier plan proposed in 1986, and we must take it to heart now, 22 years later. In the words of Kathy Fletcher, Executive Director of People For Puget Sound and member of the Partnership’s Ecosystem Coordination Board, this is our ‘last, best, chance to save the Sound ’.
To Help Rescue Puget Sound
Please contact Rein Attemann (firstname.lastname@example.org
) or use the handy activist sign up form here
to be learn more about opportunities to be an advocate for the Sound.
Shared with permission. Content courtesy of People For Puget Sound (www.pugetsound.org)