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Puget Sound in Winter

Keynote Panel - Points of Hope for Puget Sound

All too often we hear about all the ways that Puget Sound wildlife, water quality and landscapes are suffering as the region’s populations continues to grow.  There’s no denying it; these problems are serious—animals face the threat of extinction, shellfish beds close too frequently, ocean acidification is already here, sewage and fuel spills still happen despite safeguards. Even when faced with what seems like dire prospects there are reasons to have hope. Businesses, government agencies, colleges, community groups, and individuals are working hard to reverse this downward trend; and are producing positive results. Betsy Peabody, the moderator, will set the stage for the session with four panelists sharing their own powerful stories of successful recovery work in Puget Sound.

Puget Sound Starts Here:  Stef Frenzl (Communications Specialist, Snohomish County Surface Water Management).  Stef will share the tale of the regional Puget Sound Starts Here campaign, an innovative approach by municipalities to increase residents’ understanding of and connection to the Sound, with the intent of lessening water pollution from our every day practices.

ReUsies provides one small change:  Becky Harper (Owner and Founder of ReUsies Snack & Sandwich Bags) will share the reason they started the reusable bag company in 2005 and how the ability for families to make one small change to their daily routine has created a huge impact on plastic baggie waste.  Find out what changed the way the company viewed plastic and its impact on the environment.  She will share stories of how customers, families, and schools around the country are creating a decisive impact and fostering change.

Engaging Youth Meaningfully:   Ardi Kveven (Founder and Executive Director of Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA).  Ardi will share the ways that enrollment of 225 junior and senior high school students in this interdisciplinary program have affected their lives.  Not only did they earn an associate’s degree, but they also developed a sense of place through hands-on experiences full of scientific discovery and interdisciplinary writing. ORCA research is centered on the issues that are relevant to the health of Puget Sound and also create well informed citizens that want to make a difference. 

Japanese Gulch Salmon Restoration:  Patricia Love (City of Mukilteo Planning and Community Development).  Patricia brings us the story of Japanese Gulch in which the City of Mukilteo, Paine Field Airport (Snohomish County), and Edmonds Community College worked together to improve fish passage by removing fish barriers and conduct archaeology recovery in Japanese Gulch Creek with the hopes of returning salmon to a stream where fish had been cut off from Puget Sound for nearly 50 years.  Learn how the partnerships that unfolded brought nearly immediate results to this watershed.

Moderated by Betsy Peabody

Founder and Executive Director, Puget Sound Restoration Fund

Betsy and the Fund work towards recovering imperiled species and re-forging human connection to marine resources.  They have done this by bringing together businesses, tribes, private landowners and community groups to achieve a number of successful projects throughout Puget Sound, including:

  • raising abalone to help recover wild populations;
  • rebuilding over thirty five acres of Olympia Oyster habitat;
  • planting more than ten million Olympia Oster seed at promising locations;
  • re-vegetating many acres of riverbanks through the Sound;
  • helping restore water quality in 900 acres of Drayton Harbor and Henderson Inlet so shellfish can be farmed and harvested;
  • launching three community shellfish farms and 150 shellfish gardens to restore clean water and connect people to healthy marine waters; and
  • planting shellfish to alleviate nutrient loads.