News from the Puget Sound Partnership

MEDIA CONTACT
Michael Grayum
(360) 464-1221
Michael.grayum@psp.wa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05-15-2012

Four honored for work to protect and restore Strait of Juan de Fuca

TACOMA – Four “Puget Sound Champions” were honored on Friday, May 11 by the Puget Sound Partnership, the agency charged with coordinating Puget Sound cleanup and restoration. 

The awards were presented by Gerry O’Keefe, the Partnership’s Executive Director, and Ron Sims, former King County Executive and current member of the Partnership’s Leadership Council, at a meeting of the Strait Ecosystem Recovery Network.  The Network is one of eight regional sub-groups that coordinate and prioritize projects and programs aimed at creating and sustaining a healthy Puget Sound.

The award recipients are:

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition, which was honored for its work to implement salmon recovery plans in the Strait, and to work with landowners, local tribes, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and others to initiate projects such as the Salmon Creek Estuary and Morse Creek Restoration.

Micah McCarty and Chad Bowechop of the Makah Tribe, were honored for their effective leadership to improve oil spill prevention, preparedness and response in Puget Sound.  Micah McCarty was also honored for his policy work as a member of the National Oceans Council and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification.

Michelle McConnell, Jefferson County planner, was honored for her work on the Shoreline Master Program maintaining fresh and saltwater migratory pathways for fish and wildlife, creating complementary policies among neighboring jurisdictions, and for initiating an ambitious community-wide planning process for a complex county divided by a national park, and bordering Hood Canal, the Strait and the Pacific Ocean.

Bob Campbell, Facility Coordinator with Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles, was honored for providing accessible, high-quality information about the Sound, and training docents for the more than 1,600 visitors who come to the Center each year. Campbell also provides educational, hands-on experiences with near-shore environments to 1,800 students a year, encouraging scientific inquiry and appreciation for the natural wonders of the marine environment.

“I commend you all for your dedication, commitment and collaboration in ecosystem recovery. We are all indebted to you. The Strait Ecosystem Recovery Network has done impressive work, and serves as an excellent example of local coordination,” said Ron Sims.

“Although we are recognizing four recipients today, there are many other hard working individuals and organizations making important contributions in the Strait Action Area. Today’s recipients were nominated by their peers for doing outstanding work that deserves to be recognized and to serve as an example for others,” said Gerry O’Keefe.

The Partnership will honor Puget Sound Champions in other local coordinating entities it collaborates with to advance Puget Sound recovery. Upcoming meetings include June 11 in the greater Seattle area and June 20 in Hood Canal. More information about these meetings will be available at www.psp.wa.gov or by contacting Michael Grayum at Michael.grayum@psp.wa.gov.

“There’s lots of work to do to ensure a healthy future for the Sound," said O’Keefe. “Only by working together can we restore this natural asset and keep it thriving for generations to come.”

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The Puget Sound Partnership coordinates regional efforts to clean up Puget Sound. The Partnership was created in 2007, with strong bipartisan support.  Its mission is to break down government silos, define and focus on priorities, and ensure accountability for effective outcomes. The Partnership works with more than 600 partners to promote science-based solutions for the Puget Sound region.

Over the past five years, the Puget Sound region has protected more than 2,440 acres of habitat, restored 70 miles of streams and rivers, and advanced nationally recognized restoration projects, such as the 762 acres of estuary restored in Thurston County and the removal of two dams on the Elwha River, which opened up 70 miles of pristine habitat in Clallam County. In 2010 alone, the Puget Sound region completed 565 projects and supported nearly 7,476 jobs.

For more information please visit: www.psp.wa.gov

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