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Alicia Lawver
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01-07-2013

Puget Sound Partnership honors Snohomish, Stillaguamish watershed Champions

EVERETT ? Today the Puget Sound Partnership honored "Puget Sound Champions" from the Snohomish and Stillaguamish watersheds during a ceremony in Everett. These individuals and organizations were recognized for their exceptional work protecting and restoring habitat, cleaning up polluted water, and engaging the community in implementing the Action Agenda ? the Partnership?s regional plan to clean up Puget Sound.

?Our Champions represent a fraction of the work being done around Puget Sound to restore and protect critical habitat,? said Steve Sakuma, a member of the Partnership?s Leadership Council who presented the Champion awards today. ?These organizations and individuals are making real improvements in the Snohomish and Stillaguamish watersheds that benefit our economy, our health, our quality of life and the legacy we leave.?

?Puget Sound recovery calls for both local focus and regional collaboration; but most of all, we need action,? said Anthony Wright, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. ?These Champions and our many diligent partners are making Puget Sound recovery a reality.?

The honorees worked within the boundaries of the Snohomish-Stillaguamish Local Integrating Organization Network, one of 10 local watershed-based groups the Partnership works with to help set priorities for local programs and projects. The Snohomish-Stillaguamish LIO is located in Snohomish and parts of King and Skagit counties.

The honorees are:

King County and the City of Seattle?Tolt River Floodplain Reconnection Project
King County and the City of Seattle have teamed up to enhance fish habitat by restoring natural function to the Lower Tolt River Floodplain. The Tolt River is the largest salmon-bearing tributary to the Snoqualmie River and is a key part of the Snohomish River Basin. The Tolt River Floodplain Restoration Project restored nearly 50 acres of floodplain habitat important to spawning and rearing salmon. The project provided flood protection for the Tolt-MacDonald Park and the City of Carnation and created more diverse habitat conditions in the river. This project was partially funded by Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration dollars.

The Nature Conservancy?Port Susan Bay Restoration Project
The Nature Conservancy has spent more than a decade working with partners to restore natural function to the Port Susan Bay estuary while also providing benefit to surrounding farmers. In 2012, this work resulted in 7,000 feet of levee removed to restore estuarine habitat and 5,100 feet of a new levee built to protect neighboring farms. While the actual project site was 150 acres of estuary habitat, the project restored natural processes and tidal influence to 4,000 acres and reduced flood impact to 1,300 acres. The restoration of Puget Sound estuaries is critical to salmon and benefits numerous other species including shorebirds. This project was partially funded by Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration dollars.

Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee?Port Susan Marine Stewardship Area
The Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee and its partners have provided leadership to develop a Conservation Action Plan for Port Susan, which includes details on the conservation targets, threats and strategies. Partners in this effort include the Island County Marine Resources Committee, Tulalip Tribes, the Stillaguamish Tribe, The Nature Conservancy, WSU Extension of Snohomish and Island Counties, and Washington Sea Grant.

City of Everett?Rain Gardens
The City of Everett brought partners together to build a cluster of rain gardens on poor-draining soils in North Everett, resulting in seven unique rain gardens functioning better than anticipated and removing 123,000 gallons of stormwater from the combined sewer system annually. Hundreds of people have visited the rain gardens and are asking for technical assistance to install their own. This kind of interest in Low Impact Development techniques such as rain gardens is a great way to prevent pollution and manage stormwater.

City of Arlington?Old Town Wetland Project
In 2000 the City of Arlington obtained a 27-acre parcel and worked to create a 10-acre wetland that provides natural treatment for stormwater runoff while offering outdoor recreational opportunities and enhanced habitat. Open to the public in 2011, local residents can now stroll through the 4,200-foot trail network wile learning about the water quality and wildlife benefits of the project.

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance?Pollution Prevention Program
The Puget Soundkeeper Alliance?s Pollution Prevention Program engages the community on a wide range of issues related to water quality protection including waterway cleanup events, water quality education and clean boating. In 2011, more than 1,100 community volunteers participated in 21 marine debris cleanup events that resulted in the removal of nearly six tons of debris from Puget Sound habitats. More than 10,000 Clean Boating Guides were also distributed at various outreach events.

Kit Rawson?Individual Impact
Kit Rawson has been an advocate for salmon and Puget Sound for more than 26 years. Since 1998 Rawson has been developing the technical basis for the Chinook recovery plan for Puget Sound, especially focusing on the integrated effects of habitat, harvest and hatchery management. Rawson is chair of the Puget Sound Recovery Implementation Technical Team, serving as a liaison to the Stillaguamish Watershed. He also served as chair of the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee and currently sits on the technical committee of the San Juan Watershed Group.

About the Champion awards
Puget Sound Champion awards are presented by the Leadership Council to honor partner contributions to the Puget Sound ecosystem recovery effort. To learn about other Puget Sound Champions, go to www.psp.wa.gov/champions.php.

About the Partnership
The Puget Sound Partnership is the organization leading the recovery of Puget Sound. The Partnership is a state agency that coordinates the efforts of citizens, governments, tribes, scientists and businesses to set priorities, implement a regional recovery plan and ensure accountability for results. For more information, go to www.psp.wa.gov.

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