News from the Puget Sound Partnership

Katy Johansson


Leading scientists gather in Seattle to discuss future of Puget Sound, Georgia Basin

OLYMPIA – Hundreds of American and Canadian scientists will converge in Seattle next week for one of North America’s premier environmental science events, the Puget Sound Georgia Basin Conference.

The biennial forum is expected to draw more than 900 scientists, policymakers, community leaders and academics who will exchange the latest science, knowledge and insights into efforts to conserve and protect one of the most ecologically rich transboundary ecosystems in the world.

•    WHAT: 4th International Puget Sound Georgia Basin Conference; participants will identify the critical work that must occur to ensure protection of Puget Sound and the Georgia Basin
•    WHEN: Feb. 8-11
•    WHERE: Washington State Convention & Trade Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle
•    HOW: To register for the conference, visit

“Our ecosystem knows no borders. We have to have international cooperation to develop science-based strategies to fully and efficiently restore our waters,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “With the input of these preeminent scientists, we can help ensure our region thrives environmentally as well as economically.”

The governor, who has made Puget Sound cleanup one of the top priorities of her administration, is scheduled to speak at the conference at noon Monday, Feb. 9.

“Washington and British Columbia share environmental challenges – from managing the effects of climate change to dealing with the impact of population growth – so we help each other by sharing our ideas about how best to address these challenges,” said David Dicks, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, the group Gregoire created to lead the effort to bring the Sound back to health. The Partnership and Environment Canada are hosting the event.

The conference comes on the heels of the Partnership’s December 2008 adoption of the Action Agenda, which lays out a strategy for cleaning up, protecting and restoring the Sound. The Action Agenda helped inspire the conference’s theme, “The Future of the Salish Sea: A Call to Action!”

The four-day forum kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, with a reception at the Seattle Aquarium, where Billy Frank Jr., chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and Congressman Norm Dicks will welcome conference attendees.

Throughout Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, presentations and panel discussions will cover a variety of topics, including ecosystem-based management, stormwater treatment, salmon recovery, climate change, and the protection of orcas and other marine mammals.

On Tuesday, the conference will also host an artists’ reception for amateur and professional photographers (beginning at 6 p.m.) and an environmental film festival (beginning at 7 p.m.). Both events, to be held at the Hyatt at Olive 8 Hotel, 1635 Eighth Ave., are free and open to the public.

The conference will culminate in a “Call to Action,” where Bill Ruckelshaus, Joe Gaydos and others will review action priorities assembled throughout the conference. This closing plenary session, modeled after a traditional Coast Salish ceremony, is also free and open to the public.

For more information, including the conference program, visit


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