Monday, May 4, 2015

Whither Puget Sound Starts Here?

Governor Inslee proclaims the month of May as Puget Sound Starts Here month. The Puget Sound Partnership laments that, due to funding cuts, Puget Sound Starts Here needs to find another home. Do you care?

A reader last week pointed out that the Puget Sound Partnership home page announced coming changes in staffing and program focus as a result of earlier EPA funding decisions. (Hard to tell when this was “announced” by the Partnership since the home page entry isn’t dated, nor is there any news release associated with the “announcement.”)

Earlier in the year, the Partnership sent out a news release expressing its support of EPA’s “new framework for distributing federal funding directed toward Puget Sound recovery.”

According to the Partnership’s web page, upcoming changes include:


  • Realignment of staffing: some positions will not be funded in the future and other positions will be added to meet new demands.
  • Transition of programs funded by the expiring Stewardship Grant: the end of this grant requires the transition of many of these efforts to sources of support outside the organization.
  • Enhanced board support: for the Leadership Council, Ecosystem Coordination Board, Science Panel, and Salmon Recovery Council to meet increased responsibilities under the new model.

At the end of last week, Skagit County’s EcoNet coordinator posted an email from Partnership executive director Sheida Sahandy. Sahandy said that the end of the Stewardship grant required finding other sponsor “homes” to take over stewardship programs like Puget Sound Starts Here, that the EcoNet program would be integrated into county Local Integrating Organizations, and that, for now, two positions in the Partnership’s Stewardship and Policy Integration section were eliminated.

According to Sahandy, there are many details to be worked out but, “Most of the operational changes will be in place by July 1.”

Do you care? Maybe the legislature in its special session budget deliberations has already taken care of Puget Sound stewardship funding. Maybe Microsoft and Amazon and Starbucks are ready to step up as new program “homes.”

“I want my grandchildren and their grandchildren to be able to swim in Puget Sound, catch a salmon to roast over the campfire, and enjoy shellfish grown right here in Washington. I want them to inherit an economy that is thriving. When it comes to a sustainable environment or a sustainable economy, it’s not one or the other,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Join me in creating a Puget Sound legacy we can be proud of.” ( Governor Inslee proclaims May as Puget Sound Starts Here )

Puget Sound: swim-able, fish-able, dig-able. An educated and engaged constituency. Who cares?

--Mike Sato

4 comments:

  1. I suppose when you do one thing but measure something else, you either need to be lucky a lot or else be prepared to pay the piper.

    Maybe the next wave will be luckier or have a better plan!

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    1. And a highly developed sense of irony to stay in the game.

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    2. When I bought my first license to fish in the Sound (1959) it was the size of a 3 x 5 card... and there were still plenty of clams, intact kelp beds, perch around every piling, balls of herring, etc etc in a filthy, often milky-green soup.
      I bought a license this week (old-timer, now) without the "Columbia River System" add-on ($8.) for $27. and the license was 4 feet long. I measured it in the office. I haven't caught a fish in the Sound in my life that was that long (although I hooked a ling cod one time about that size, that had grabbed an english sole I'd hooked first). I feel like my last 10 year's worth of licenses has really been contributions to a Wa Dept of Fish & Wildlife survival fund. I haven't seen a pile perch in about the last dozen years anywhere in the Central/South Sound... but the water is so clear & lovely to look at. ^..^

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  2. Today I was in a little training session taught by two of the state agencies that are part of the Puget Sound Partnership. The training has to do with one of the Indicators for which targets have been set. The person who briefly addressed that fact said it was the Puget Sound Action Team as the group that had the indicators and targets. Is this going forward (the new name?) or backward (an old name?) or just symptomatic?

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