Restoring Puget Sound’s habitat is one of the 8 key objectives established in law in the Puget Sound Partnership’s 2020 action agenda.
What is the problem?
Habitats are shrinking and becoming increasingly cut off from other habitats. As a result, they are less able to sustain the ‘ecological processes‘ necessary to support life. From tiny, microscopic plankton to salmon to orca, each organism plays an important role in the complex food web of Puget Sound. And each organism needs healthy habitats to flourish.
They have seen only too well of how habitat loss and other factors such as toxic pollution can threaten species survival in Puget Sound. State and federal listing include nearly 50 species of fish, marine mammals, birds and invertebrates in the basin. Many are also considered endangered or threatened. Others are candidates for listing or considered species of concern or are being closely monitored.
The damage and destruction of Puget Sound habitats in the past, and present, have created an ongoing need for repair and cleanup.
Puget Sound has already lost an astonishing 80% of it’s estuary habitat.
Protecting remaining habitat alone will not be enough to attain ecosystem health. Large-scale, ecosystem-wide restoration efforts in upland and marine areas must work hand-in-hand with habitat protection to avoid the continuous and costly cycle of damage, repair, and cleanup.
What is being done?
Each and every day, efforts to restore habitats take place throughout the entire Sound. State, local, and federal agencies, tribes, non-profit organizations, businesses, and volunteers are the main players.
The following are some highlights of work underway:
The ‘Puget Sound Near-shore Partnership‘ explores the feasibility of large-scale near-shore ecosystem restoration of the benefit of the biological resources and the integrity of the ecosystem. Some of PSNP’s work includes collecting and organizing data and developing a strategic portfolio of restoration projects. PSNP expects to complete restoration work for the Nisqually, Qwuloolt, Skokomish, and Wiley Slough estuaries in the 2007-2009 biennium.
3-6 Washington State Parks will serve as demonstrations of Sound-friendly development. Several federal agencies are developing a streamlined permitting process for consulting on Endangered Species Act restoration projects. Work in ongoing by a variety of players on the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan. The Washington departments of Agricultural, Fish and Wildlife, and Natural Resources are stepping up efforts to control and eradicate invasive species.