News from the Puget Sound Partnership

Katy Johansson


EPA approval demonstrates Puget Sound Partnership's Action Agenda has national buy-in

OLYMPIA – With the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval today of the Action Agenda to protect and restore Puget Sound, a foundation has been set that will ensure greater federal attention is paid to this critical effort.

“Today’s action is yet another signal that Puget Sound is a national priority,” said David Dicks, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, the group charged with bringing Puget Sound back to health.

While the Partnership’s Leadership Council formally adopted the Action Agenda on Dec. 1, EPA’s endorsement today not only signifies EPA’s dedication to helping implement the Action Agenda, but paves the way for more federal funding in the future.

EPA’s blessing of the Action Agenda could improve chances of passage of a $50 million appropriation currently making its way through Congress. That money, which has already passed out of the House Appropriations Committee, is meant to be used for monitoring recovery of the Nisqually Estuary, cleaning up toxic waste in the Duwamish River and other sites throughout the Sound, and fighting stormwater, which has been identified as the largest threat to the health of Puget Sound.

In recent months, Puget Sound has also been the recipient of tens of millions of federal economic stimulus dollars. Projects supported by the federal stimulus money include $54 million for work necessary to remove the Elwha Dam by 2011, which will open up 70 miles of habitat along the Elwha River, as well as $3.6 million to remove dikes as part of the 762-acre Nisqually Estuary restoration process.

Overall, state funding for Puget Sound restoration and protection is estimated at $515 million for the 2009-11 biennium. That includes new and ongoing funding for various state agencies to perform projects, all of which are identified as priorities in the Action Agenda.


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