Help Us Help Puget Sound!

image of orca whaleI have lived in Olympia, Washington, for 30 years now and I believe that people here feel we live in the “greenest” part of the country. But is this really true? Wild salmon are rapidly becoming extinct and orca whales living in Puget Sound are some of the most contaminated mammals on the planet.

We are now on the third iteration of a plan to save Puget Sound. The new plan, the Action Agenda, is a significant improvement over past plans – it merges salmon recovery with overall restoration and sets a target date of 2020 for a healthy Puget Sound. It is a great plan – but can we turn the plan into action as the title suggests? We would like your help in answering this question.

Later this summer EPA will send out a formal request for project proposals for about $19 million in federal funds to restore Puget Sound. This money will go to implement the Action Agenda and follow all of our requirements for an open transparent competitive process. The Action Agenda, however, provides a pretty big umbrella to work under and we want to be as strategic as possible. How can we focus this money to have the greatest impact on the restoration of Puget Sound? – or to better understand the problems of Puget Sound for the scientists and researchers out there.

I invite you to become familiar with the problems facing Puget Sound by visiting the Puget Sound Partnership website, and please share your advice. If you are more into videos, check out the Poisoned Waters segment which aired on PBS earlier this year. Help us put our money where our mouth is so that we can indeed become the greenest corner of the country.

About the author: Tom Eaton is EPA Region 10’s Executive Lead for Puget Sound. Originally a Hoosier and a Boilermaker to boot, Tom has 32 years of public sector experience in environmental management working for EPA and the State of Washington.