News from the Puget Sound Partnership

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Michael Grayum
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Michael.grayum@psp.wa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08-14-2012

Science Panel supports the regional framework to restore the health of Puget Sound

TACOMA – Today the Washington State Academy of Sciences presented their report to the Puget Sound Partnership’s Science Panel, acknowledging the solid scientific basis and framework of the Action Agenda and recommending improvements for how the health of Puget Sound is measured.

The Science Panel provides independent scientific advice related to ecological and human health to the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency leading and coordinating the recovery of Puget Sound.

The Academy’s report affirms the considerable progress made by the Partnership establishing environmental indicators, which are used to evaluate the health of Puget Sound. The report also recommends revisiting the metrics of some indicators and establishing new ones.

"We're pleased that the Academy did such a thorough job with their review and we appreciate their help,” said Joe Gaydos, Chief Scientist for the SeaDoc Society and Chair of the Puget Sound Science Panel. “Peer review is a critical part of science and these recommendations will help us to improve our indicators so we know if our actions to improve the health of Puget Sound are working."

When the Puget Sound Partnership was established in 2007, the Washington State Legislature requested the Academy assist the Partnership with two key tasks:

  1. Vet the credentials of Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel nominees to ensure representation of scientific, engineering and social science disciplines.
  2. Evaluate and make recommendations regarding environmental indicators and benchmarks in the Action Agenda to improve progress toward regional recovery targets.

In 2010, the Partnership convened regional experts and the public to identify key ecosystem indicators to evaluate progress restoring the Sound. In 2011, the Leadership Council adopted targets – specific measures to be used as 'Vital Signs' to evaluate the overall health of Puget Sound.

The Partnership will use indicators and targets to evaluate the implementation of the 2012 update of the Action Agenda—the region’s roadmap for protecting and restoring the health of Puget Sound. The Partnership also developed a virtual Dashboard that incorporates the indicators and targets to report progress to the public. The Dashboard highlights the work of entities implementing the Action Agenda and informs individual citizens how they can be part of the solution saving Puget Sound. All of this information will be continuously updated and is publicly available on the Partnership’s website: http://www.psp.wa.gov/pm_dashboard.php

"I was impressed with the thoroughness of the review, and pleased that Academy acknowledged the excellent foundation that has been laid down by the Partnership,” said Tracy Collier, recently appointed Science Director for the Partnership.  “We especially appreciate the constructive suggestions for improving our indicators for monitoring the status of Puget Sound. The comments about the Partnership's need for better indicators of human health and well-being personally resonate with me because I also serve as the national science advisor to NOAA's Oceans and Human Health Initiative."

"Restoring and protecting Puget Sound demands the transparent application of rigorous science," says UW Professor Joel Baker, Director of the Puget Sound Institute. "We agree with the Academy's emphasis on the need to continually evaluate and adjust our efforts, which is a cornerstone of the Puget Sound Strategic Science Plan."

Background
The Puget Sound Partnership is the backbone organization that coordinates the efforts of citizens, governments, tribes, scientists and businesses to set priorities, implement a regional recovery plan, and ensure accountability for results. By combining efforts and clearly defining priorities, more than 2,440 acres of habitat have been protected, 70 miles of streams and rivers have been restored, and game-changing restoration projects have been advanced since the Partnership was established through bipartisan leadership in 2007.

Puget Sound Partnership website: http://www.psp.wa.gov

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