Puget Sound is in the big leagues with the EPA approving the state’s “Action Agenda” for recovering Washington’s inland sea. The approval “signifies the agency’s full commitment to helping carry out the Agenda to protect and restore Puget Sound,” stated an agency press release from Wednesday.
With the EPA’s blessing, the effort could get up to $20 million this year in federal funding for work to restore the Sound to health.
The 204-page Action Agenda, which was released in December by the state’s Puget Sound Partnership and Gov. Chris Gregoire, is a “blueprint for recovery.” It includes:
- Fixing and improving sewage and septic systems
- Increasing the use of development techniques that capture rainwater on site so that it doesn’t flow as polluted runoff into the Sound
- Shoreline restoration work
This isn’t the only pot of money coming to the Sound. The Northwest Straits Commission, a nonprofit working on Puget Sound projects, is getting $4.6 million of federal stimulus money to remove lost fishing nets that drown thousands of birds, fish, and marine mammals each year.
The money was awarded in June by the NOAA Fisheries Service to the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Foundation. The commission’s director, Ginny Broadhurst, said the 18 months of support could result in the removal of 90 percent of the abandoned nets in the Sound.
Steeple photo courtesy of Flickr user joiseyshowaaunder the Creative Commons license.
I’m totally stoked to hear we’re getting this funding, but isn’t the rhetoric here a bit out-of-line with reality? $20 million a year, when dealing with infrastructure, is a pretty paltry amount of money. Add to our existing problems the sprawl and increased pollution continuing to result from the region’s poor planning and rapid population growth/development and climate change impacts (droughts, warming waters, invasive species, rising seas) and it’s going to take orders of magnitude more money than $20 million to generate a real “blueprint for recovery.”