Protecting the habitats throughout the Puget Sound basin is one the the 8 key objectives established in law for the Puget Sound Partnership.
What is the problem?
Habitats throughout the Puget Sound basin are disappearing.
Signs of an ecosystem in distress are all around us:
Endangered Species Act of salmon and orca. Alarming declines in many other species, including marine birds such as Western grebes, Pacific loons, surf scoters, and marbled murrelets. Increased listing of polluted waters. Closures of shellfish harvesting areas. Changes in streamflows and flooding patterns that affect our homes.
In the Puget Sound basin, some of the key threats to habitat include:
Modification of the shoreline. Landscape alterations. Fragmentation. Invasive Species.
An ounce of protection is worth a pound of restoration. If you’ve ever worked to restore a stream, creek, or shoreline damaged by development, livestock, erosion or other means, you know that it takes more time, more money, and more energy than to preserve an area in the first place.
As population growth continues to put pressure on wild species and native habitats, the challenge will be able to find creative and effective ways to preserve functioning habitats in the Puget Sound basin. Not only for fish and wildlife, but for further generations of Washingtonians.
Ways to protect habitats:
Protecting habitats goes hand-in-hand with protecting the well-being of the regions citizens. There are many different ways to protect habitat. Some examples include:
Landowners can do much to preserve native habitat on their land, or to replace some or all of their lawns with native vegetation. Citizens can help restore areas along stream and river banks. Shoreline landowners can choose environmentally friendly alternatives to bulkheads. For more permanent protection, landowners can put some or all of their property in a conversion easement to reduce property taxes. At the community level, shoreline master programs and critical areas ordinances help protect public health and safety, and private property as well as the environment.
What is being done now to protect habitats in Puget Sound?
Every single day, efforts to protect habitats occur throughout the Puget Sound basin. These efforts involve state, local and as well as federal agencies, tribes, non-profit organizations, citizen groups, businesses, and many many others. The following are some highlights of work underway:
Conserving land Training Citizen involvement Shoreline management plans Local watershed planning Aquatic nuisance species Expanded aquatic reserves