PARTNERS IN ACTION
Puget Sound Champions honored
Puget Sound Champion awards recognize outstanding local partners for their contributions to the ecosystem recovery effort. These individuals and organizations are chosen by their peers for their exceptional work protecting and restoring habitat, cleaning up polluted water, and engaging the community in implementing the Action Agenda – the Partnership’s regional plan to clean up Puget Sound. Please join us in congratulating the following recipients.
Snohomish/Stillaguamish watersheds (presented Jan. 7): http://1.usa.gov/UTkoOv
King County and the City of Seattle, for the Tolt River Floodplain Reconnection Project
The Nature Conservancy, for the Port Susan Bay Restoration Project
Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee, for the Port Susan Marine Stewardship Area
City of Everett, for its rain gardens program
City of Arlington, for its Old Town Wetland Project
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, for its Pollution Prevention Program
Kit Rawson, for his nearly 30 years of advocating for salmon and Puget Sound
2012 State of Salmon in the Watershed website goes live, highlights regional issues
Thanks to the many partners who have been gathering and analyzing data for the recently released 2012 biennial State of Salmon in the Watershed website. Rather than a standard printed report to legislators, this year’s update includes a new, interactive website that allows anyone in the state to learn how salmon are doing in their region’s streams and rivers. Washington is starting to see salmon populations increase in some areas, but we still have a long way to go until all listed species of salmon can removed from the federal Endangered Species Act list. For the Puget Sound region, the report shows major factors limiting fish recovery include degraded floodplain and channel structure; degraded near-shore, marine and estuarine conditions; shoreline degradation and loss of in-river woody material; degraded water quality and temperature; impaired stream flows; excessive sediment; and barriers to fish passage.
Land Trust purchase will link critical Ohop River project to Nisqually River
Congratulations to the Nisqually Land Trust for making headway on one of its most important and complex projects ever. The 114 acres purchased in the Ohop Valley are essential to Ohop Creek, the second-largest salmon-producing tributary to the Nisqually River. Restoration work on this property includes rebuilding three-quarters of a mile of Ohop Creek and will connect the existing restoration project with the Nisqually River. The $750,000 purchase was made possible through Pierce County Conservation Futures, Puget Sound Restoration and Acquisition funds allocated by the Partnership through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and other generous donors. The Ohop River project brings the Nisqually Land Trust to 696 protected acres in 2012 for a total of 4,557 acres of permanently protected land. Large-scale restoration projects like this one are what is needed to restore and protect Puget Sound, and are included in the Partnership’s Strategic Initiatives.
Check out the updated Low Impact Development Technical Guidance Manual
The 2012 Low Impact Development (LID) Technical Guidance Manual is now available. The manual, first produced in 2005, is the region’s primary technical guidance for siting, designing, installing and maintaining LID practices and projects. The manual covers site assessment, site planning, vegetation protection and restoration, precision site clearing, integrated management practices, research and performance, modeling techniques in approved runoff models, bioretention plants, street trees, bioretention soil testing and maintenance of LID techniques. The new manual is the result of a collaborative effort among WSU Puyallup, Ecology, dozens of regional professionals, and the Puget Sound Partnership.
Ocean acidification acknowledged as area of concern for Puget Sound waters
This month, with the EPA’s approval, Ecology categorized Puget Sound as a “waters of concern” for potential harm to fish and shellfish habitat from human activities, including conditions that make the waters more vulnerable, such as climate change, urbanization and ocean acidification. There is currently no federal guidance to list waters for ocean acidification impacts, but based on recommendations from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, Ecology has asked the EPA to begin an assessment of water quality criteria relevant to ocean acidification.
Ecology’s latest chemical action plan supports Puget Sound Action Agenda priorities
Ecology and the Department of Health’s latest chemical action plan addresses uses and releases of PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, by supporting existing programs such as removing creosote-treated pilings and education and outreach campaigns about wood burning, vehicle drips, engine idling and smoking. These programs support priorities outlined in the Partnership’s Puget Sound Action Agenda – the plan for prioritizing and focusing recovery and protection efforts across the 12-county region. PAHs are a group of more than 100 different chemicals that are toxic to organisms, including humans. They are found in natural substances like oil and coal, and are formed during incomplete burning of organic material such as coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, tobacco and meat. Studies have linked PAHs to cancer, reproductive problems and weakened immune systems.
Large-scale watershed projects will get more PSAR funding focus in 2013-2015
Since its inception in 2007, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) program has helped bring restoration and acquisition projects throughout the region to reality. In 2012, PSAR-funded projects included the removal of shoreline armoring along 1,500 feet of private property on Bainbridge Island, the restoration of 150 acres of estuary in Port Susan Bay that also increased flood protection for adjacent farmers and a culvert removal in Woodinville that had sockeye salmon returning to spawn even before the native vegetation could be planted. As we move forward, there is a need for larger-scale, more complex projects in order to increase the Puget Sound recovery rate. So for 2013-2015, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund will expand to fund large capital projects beyond the scope of past PSAR funding. The Partnership and Salmon Recovery Council have worked together to develop a prioritized list of projects. Rankings consider a project’s impact to Chinook salmon, benefits to other listed salmonid species, as well as an analysis of how the project advances the Partnership’s 2020 habitat recovery targets such as estuary recovery, floodplains and eelgrass. Thirty projects have been ranked and the top 12 will be funded under the current PSAR funding request.