Drawing on communities, people, and wildlife along the river, Swim Duwamish tells the story of the threats and opportunities facing the Green-Duwamish River watershed. Pollution and industrial impacts jeopardize the health of its ecosystems and economies, but the resilient river can – and must – be restored. As Mark Powell, former Puget Sound Program Director, swam the river, he connected with the people who lived, worked, and enjoyed the river and raised the public profile of the importance of restoring the river and its connection to a cleaner Puget Sound.
Local, State, and Federal Coordination
WEC works to advance Puget Sound recovery by working with local, state, and federal leaders to commit to coordinated, focused, and strategic actions. We build coalitions of compelling voices, mobilize the public, develop policy, secure funding, lobby, and hold our officials accountable on implementing the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda, salmon recovery plans, and core environmental laws. In addition, we support elevating the importance of Puget Sound through a wide range of strategies including advocating for bills like the Promoting United Government Efforts To Save Our Sound (PUGET SOS) Act, which recognizes the importance of Puget Sound on the national stage and aligns federal restoration efforts with the ongoing efforts of state, local, and tribal governments to restore Puget Sound back to health.
Employing tools routinely 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 put these same tools to work for Puget Sound. For example, we have identified which of our members are shoreline property owners in certain counties in order to engage them in public hearings and comment periods for the local shoreline management plan updates.
“A citizen from our district who communicates an issue to us is more powerful than any paid lobbyist, because at the end of the day we represent you. You don’t need to be an expert. Speak from the heart.” —Former Rep. Dave Upthegrove on Environmental Lobby Day 2011.
And that is one reason we engage and organize constituents throughout the 49 legislative districts on important legislative issues every year. Our People For Puget Sound Program has successfully passed bills requiring safe removal of derelict vessels, effective oil spill prevention and response measures, responsible land use regulations, and innovative approaches to reducing pollution from toxic runoff. However, we cannot be effective in the state legislature without strong support from thousands of Washingtonians from all over the state who continue to contact their legislators, attend committee hearings, and testify at community town hall meetings. Learn more about our legislative work to protect Puget Sound here.