Finding new perspective on Puget Sound

Some of it will be controversial. Some of it will be expensive. Much of it may never even get done. But we hope the Review’s multi-part series “Sound + Vision” suggests the breadth and magnitude of the strategies in play for restoring and preserving our Puget Sound. From keeping common pollutants out of the water to reshaping armored shorelines to more natural, creature-friendly habitat where possible, it’s a mighty long to-do list. But it’s also fair to say that deciding the future of our signature inland waterway – will it be a healthy, thriving ecosystem or a dead sea? – will be the defining issue for our region for years to come.

  • Saturday, February 10, 2007 6:00pm
  • Opinion

Some of it will be controversial. Some of it will be

expensive. Much of it may never even get done.

But we hope the Review’s multi-part series “Sound + Vision” suggests the breadth and magnitude of the strategies in play for restoring and preserving our Puget Sound. From keeping common pollutants out of the water to reshaping armored shorelines to more natural, creature-friendly habitat where possible, it’s a mighty long to-do list. But it’s also fair to say that deciding the future of our signature inland waterway – will it be a healthy, thriving ecosystem or a dead sea? – will be the defining issue for our region for years to come.

Our series, which concludes with two stories in this issue, was inspired by the recent initiatives of Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Puget Sound Partnership, a blue-ribbon panel that includes local legislators Phil Rockefeller and Sherry Appleton. Their recommendations (which can be found online at www.pugetsoundpartnership.org) will be considered as state legislators craft a budget for the coming biennium. The programs are by no means exhaustive, but they are a good way to focus public attention on the challenges facing the ailing sound. It’s also exciting to see some of those goals taking shape on Bainbridge Island, with tangible projects like the Strawberry Plant shoreline restoration.

Key to the whole deal is the partnership between state and local governments and private citizens, to promote better non-regulatory stewardship. A publication prepared by People for Puget Sound offers an array of things you can do to make a difference. They’re not too difficult, and they generally don’t cost much.

• Keep your property well vegetated. Native trees hold soil in place on slopes and filter out pollutants before they reach Puget Sound.

• Keep erosion down by managing upland stormwater runoff. Natural ground covers and pervious building materials will let the rain – and whatever it picks up along the way – to be absorbed naturally. Check your property for non-native, invasive plants, and get rid of them while you’re at it.

• Keep your septic tank pumped regularly, and site new drainfields away from the shoreline. Use eco-friendly alternatives to lawn chemicals and pesticides. Keep garden equipment properly tuned to prevent leaks.

• Don’t let your pets chase wildlife like shore birds, and carry a “mutt mitt” to dispose of their waste.

Locally, the Bainbridge-based Puget Sound Restoration Fund (www.restorationfund.org) and Natural Landscapes Project (www.naturallandscapes.org), as well as the city’s Shoreline Stewardship Program, can assist citizens in making choices that may seem small on their own, but – like bad choices – have a cumulative impact somewhere downstream.

You can also get involved at the political level, as legislators decide how to fund Puget Sound preservation. As noted above, some programs will be controversial and expensive. But consider this: Gov. Gregoire’s budget calls for $220 million in spending on Puget Sound, while the Seattle SuperSonics and NASCAR are asking for public handouts of some $480 million for new sports facilities.

Put things in perspective?

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