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Shared Strategy for Puget Sound

May 2007

Welcome to our E-Bulletin. Our goal is to provide you with regular brief updates and highlights on the significant progress all of us are making on elements essential to the success of salmon recovery.

SalmonIn This Issue
»  Legislature Approves Historic Puget Sound Recovery Effort
»  What’s Next for Shared Strategy?
»  The Plan Is Adopted—Full Speed Ahead–Jim Kramer
»  Success Story
We are proud to live in a place that has so many people with the creativity, knowledge, and motivation to find lasting solutions to complex ecological, economic, and cultural challenges. Together we are creating the future we want for our communities. We are leaving a legacy that restores and protects our watersheds while promoting economic prosperity and maintaining community and cultural vitality.
SalmonLegislature Approves the Governor's Historic Puget Sound Recovery Effort

Governor Chris Gregoire and the 2007 Legislature worked together to enact legislation and provide funding that will significantly boost efforts to restore and protect Puget Sound.

The legislative package they passed is far-reaching. It includes measures to clean up and protect the waters of Puget Sound and its watersheds; to restore marine, freshwater and land habitat; to speed response to hazardous spills in the Sound and neighboring communities; to protect species; to support scientific research; and more.

The centerpiece of the Governor’s initiative is a bill (SB 5372) establishing the Puget Sound Partnership. The Partnership will be a new state agency with cabinet-level status. It will be governed by a Leadership Council made up of seven civic leaders. The Council and its staff will collaborate with governments, tribes, businesses and the environmental community to create and implement an action plan to restore the health of Puget Sound’s fresh and marine waters by 2020. This action plan will set measures and priorities to guide all protection and restoration programs in the region. This approach is similar to that of the Salmon Plan, which defines measurable goals for the recovery of salmon populations.

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SalmonWhat’s Next for Shared Strategy?

Creation of the new Puget Sound Partnership marks an end and a beginning.

Shared Strategy for Puget Sound has achieved its goals of developing a regional salmon recovery strategy, getting it adopted as a federal plan and finding a successor organization to carry out the program. Shared Strategy’s staff functions will transfer to the Partnership on January 1, 2008. The Puget Sound Recovery Council will suggest to the Partnership that the Council continue to meet as the policy group providing leadership, direction and regional adaptive management for salmon recovery. The Council, in conjunction with the watershed leads group, plans to suggest additional steps the Partnership can take to implement the Salmon Plan effectively under the new structure created by the legislature.

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SalmonThe Plan Is Adopted—Full Speed Ahead

By Jim Kramer

We have reached an exciting turning point: Governor Gregoire and the Legislature have provided the tools we need to turn our strategy into action. We’ve been focused on planning, and even though more planning must be done, it’s now time to intensify the work we’re doing on the ground.

What must we do to be successful?

  • Build broad support. Many people and organizations must work together in a coordinated way over time if we are to succeed. To get that support we must understand the needs and values of different communities—farmers, city leaders, tribes, landowners and others—and be practical and flexible as we work to restore habitat and reduce pollution. As a farm-and-fish project near Everett demonstrated (see attached), it is possible to help salmon and farmers. This story is just one example of the partnerships we are creating; many more will be needed.
  • Strengthen connections to political leaders. Many needs will compete for the attention and support of political leaders over the years it will take to restore Puget Sound and implement our 50-year plan for salmon. We must maintain the political will to get the job done. That means those of us working to save salmon must nurture our connections to political leaders at every level of government and within the civic community.
  • Learn and adapt. Salmon recovery will be a dynamic and evolving process. We must try different tactics and ask what worked well, and what can we do better? We should build on our innovative approaches to the art of connecting science and policy, and incorporate new scientific knowledge as it emerges. We must adapt to the changing world around us—including climate change that will affect our protection and restoration efforts.
  • Spend money wisely. State leaders have directed millions of dollars to the Puget Sound recovery effort. We have a historic opportunity; it is imperative that we use the funds efficiently, and that we get results. Public support and the future of Puget Sound depend on it. We must let people know what is happening in their communities and how their tax dollars are making a difference.
  • Increase our commitment. Now that the plan has been adopted, the heavy lifting begins. It will take hard work to change practices and behaviors. We must increase our commitment to action, and transform our hope into a firm belief that we can restore salmon runs in concert with population growth and economic prosperity. With our increased commitment and a broadening of public support, we can show ourselves and the rest of the world that human ingenuity and a harmony of interests can solve seemingly intractable challenges.

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SalmonSuccess Story

Saving Farms and Salmon—How a Conservation Partnership Changed One Washington Community

American Farmland, Winter 2007

The Snohomish River in Washington is home to dwindling runs of wild salmon. They are now listed under the Endangered Species Act, as population growth and human activities have degraded much of the Snohomish River watershed. Once-robust commercial, sport and cultural salmon fisheries are disappearing. But public pressure has intensified to prevent the extinction of the Snohomish River Chinook salmon and to preserve the immense natural value of this watershed. Native American tribes with strong ties to the fish have treaty rights to protect and restore them. As a result, heightened regulations now affect almost every activity associated with the river.

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