People For Puget Sound Program
At WEC, we are honored that People For Puget Sound found us to be the right group to carry on their policy, advocacy, and grassroots work. We are excited to be digging even further into an issue we’ve been working on for many years.
For the past 20 years, People For Puget Sound and WEC have been strong partners, working together to protect Puget Sound. We each had different roles, but together were able to help update the Shoreline Management Act, establish the Puget Sound Partnership, urge Ecology to adopt permits to curb polluted runoff, push for statewide funding for clean water projects, and much more.
Our People For Puget Sound Program carries on the same mission: to protect and restore Puget Sound to health. It’s a big task, but it’s one we take on with confidence in the fit with our mission and the strength of our partners.
Our Goals for Puget Sound:
- Protect and Restore Water Quality
- Protect and Restore Habitat Critical to the Recovery of Puget Sound Species
- Engage Citizens to Protect and Restore the Sound
Puget Sound and its waterways are an integral part of our lives; the Sound is both an economic driver in the region and is essential to our quality of life. Improving the Sound’s water quality will require multiple approaches and a long-term focus.
- Tackle Polluted Stormwater Runoff
Polluted stormwater runoff is the single largest source of water pollution in the Sound. For several years, WEC and People For Puget Sound worked closely together to develop the policies needed to reduce polluted runoff. Continuing this effort, we will work with our partners at Earthjustice, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, and Rosemere Neighborhood Association to defend municipal stormwater permits, which help prevent new development from adding to the problem. And we will continue to push for funding needed for clean water infrastructure projects that stop pollutants from reaching the Sound.
- Protect Our Waters From Oil Spills
Increasing quantities of oil from the Canadian Tar Sands are traveling across the Sound and we need to explore whether additional protections are required to prevent against oil spills. We are also advocating for legislation to prevent oil spills from derelict vessels.
- Emerging Issues
There are big challenges on the horizon, like the issue of ocean acidification, recently the subject of an Executive Order from the Governor’s office. We’ll be looking for the best way to ensure that the plan of action for ocean acidification does not sit on a shelf, but is implemented. As other threats emerge, we will work together with a range of other state and local organizations to protect Puget Sound.
To restore Puget Sound, we must prevent destruction of habitat and restore critical habitat we have lost. Many of these special places are home to salmon, whales, shorebirds, and other native species.
WEC will work with our partner organizations – RE Sources, Nisqually Reach Nature Center, Whidbey Watershed Stewards, and Preserve Our Islands – and local groups to ensure that these special places are protected through the creation of five citizen stewardship committees. Each committee will help protect their local Aquatic Reserve by reviewing science and management information, conducting public outreach and education, and guiding citizen science projects.
- Protect Our Shorelines
Washington’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) directs counties and cities to create plans that offer protections for important habitat. These plans are especially critical in Puget Sound. Working with Futurewise and local groups, we will help engage the public on SMP updates across several Puget Sound counties.
Seek Funding to Protect and Restore Important Habitat
Working with our partners at The Nature Conservancy and in the Environmental Priorities Coalition, we will push for more dollars in the state capital budget for coordination and implementation of Puget Sound restoration projects, including projects that protect and restore critical shoreline habitat.
- Stop the Development of Coal Export Facilities
Protecting habitat also means preventing a massive coal export facility from being built at Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Beyond the enormous impacts to our planet from burning so much coal, there are very real threats to Puget Sound – loss of important eel grass habitat, significantly increased vessel traffic, and the risk of oil spills. WEC is a key member of the Power Past Coal coalition, working to stop coal export through the Northwest.
Engaging citizens throughout the region is critical to restoring Puget Sound to health. Building on People For Puget Sound’s strong outreach and volunteer program will be a core component of our work.
- Puget Sound Partnership
WEC will build on People For Puget Sound’s history of advocacy to ensure that the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda gets the job done for Puget Sound. We will work with key government, businesses, conservation groups and others to hold agencies, cities, and municipalities accountable for the implementation of the Action Agenda.
- Recruit People to Take Action on Puget Sound Protection Issues
Utilizing tools typically used in our voter education work, we can reach a much broader audience of people who are likely to take action to protect the Sound. We are currently using these modeling tools in the coal export campaign and through telephone town halls have educated thousands of people across the state about this issue. We will put these same tools to work for Puget Sound.
- Continue to Build and Strengthen the Volunteer and Intern Program
One of P4PS’s greatest strengths was its intern and volunteer program and we are looking forward to combining our programs with them and involving even more people to help the Sound. Currently, we are excited to be engaging volunteers in preparation for Lobby Day on February 19th.
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact program director Kerri Cechovic at 206.631.2607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.