New EPA administrator appointed for Puget Sound and Region 10

New Region 10 Administrator for EPA Chris Hladick. Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development

New Region 10 Administrator for EPA Chris Hladick. Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development

The Environmental Protection Agency last week announced the appointment of Alaskan Chris Hladick as new head of its Region 10 office based in Seattle. Hladick was appointed by EPA chief Scott Pruitt to serve as regional administrator overseeing environmental protection efforts in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington including Puget Sound.

Hladick is currently commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development for the State of Alaska, and earlier served as city manager for Unalaska and other cities within the state. According to a press release from the EPA, Hladick was a member of the Alaska Legislature’s Arctic Policy Commission and Northern Waters Task Force. Both groups were formed to explore economic development such as oil and gas drilling as well as resilience in response to “the opening of Alaska’s Arctic waters” due to global warming.

Hladick replaces interim Acting Regional Administrator Michelle Pirzadeh who took over for Dennis Mclerran earlier this year. Mclerran had served under the Obama administration and resigned on January 19th just prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

EPA Region 10 oversees a variety of cleanup efforts in Puget Sound including several Superfund sites and regional tribal programs. It also distributes local research grants through the EPA’s National Estuary Program, which includes funding for the Puget Sound Institute.

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‘Bold actions’ to be discussed in a revised Chinook Implementation Strategy

Chinook salmon. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Chinook salmon. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

By Christopher Dunagan, Puget Sound Institute

A desire to come up with “bold actions” for rebuilding Chinook salmon runs in Puget Sound has slowed approval of the first Chinook Implementation Strategy designed to accelerate recovery efforts for the threatened species.

The Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, which oversees salmon-related planning, was scheduled to adopt the Chinook Implementation Strategy at its March meeting. The strategy underwent 14 months of study, discussion and review, and council staffers said it was ready for approval.

Before the meeting, however, representatives of Puget-Sound-area Indian tribes disagreed with that assessment, saying the proposed strategy was not specific enough about actions needed to save salmon. The document, they said, failed to provide enough direction to agencies and nonprofit groups working on salmon-restoration projects. Continue reading

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Healthy stream, healthy bugs

Benthic invertebrates range in size from those easily seen with the naked eye to those that cannot be spotted without the use of a microscope. Photo: Christopher Dunagan

Benthic invertebrates range in size from those easily seen with the naked eye to those that cannot be spotted without the use of a microscope. Photo: Christopher Dunagan

Many groups have been formed around the goal of saving salmon, but few people talk about a concerted effort to save microscopic creatures. Whether or not a pro-bug movement catches on, future strategies to save salmon are likely to incorporate ideas for restoring streambound creatures known as benthic invertebrates. Read our latest story in Salish Sea Currents. 

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New funding for Salish Sea herring research

Rhinocerus auklet with sand lance by Phil Green/The Nature Conservancy

Rhinoceros auklet with sand lance by Phil Green/The Nature Conservancy. Photo courtesy of SeaDoc.

PSI’s Tessa Francis is co-leader of a joint US and Canadian team that has received funding to analyze threats to Pacific Herring in the Salish Sea. Funding of just over $89,000 was granted by the SeaDoc Society and will help the group develop a comprehensive Salish Sea herring conservation and management plan.

Francis teams up with project co-leader Dayv Lowry of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Additional collaborators include USGS, NOAA, Oregon State University, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Lummi Tribe, the Cowichan Tribe, The Nature Conservancy, and Q’ul-lhanumutsun Aquatic Resources Society.

Read more about the project at SeaDoc’s website. 

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Adaptive Management: What, why, and how?

Steps in the Adaptive Management cycle. Figure 1 from the article.

Steps in the Adaptive Management cycle. Figure 1 from the article.

A “learn and adjust” strategy known as adaptive management plays a central role in state and federal Puget Sound recovery efforts. It is an approach that is gaining traction for ecosystem management worldwide. An article this week from the Puget Sound Institute provides an overview of the concept and how it is being applied locally.

Download the article on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. 

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Shedding new light on eelgrass recovery

Inside the Eelgrass beds. Photo: Eric Heupel (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/eclectic-echoes/7654885752 - See more at: http://www.eopugetsound.org/articles/shedding-new-light-eelgrass-recovery#sthash.BMcQrBpd.dpuf

Inside the Eelgrass beds. Photo: Eric Heupel (CC BY-NC 2.0)

One of the goals set by the state’s Puget Sound Action Agenda is to add 20 percent more eelgrass to the region by 2020. But three years into the effort, there’s been little or no progress, and growing perplexity. Studies show that some eelgrass beds are increasing while others are in decline. Scientists met at the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference to share new research and possible new directions for recovery efforts.

Read the article by Katie Harrington in the new Salish Sea Currents series. 

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Follow the water

Scientists and policymakers often refer generally to the “Puget Sound ecosystem.” Hundreds of millions of dollars go toward its protection. Scientists and sociologists study it, and there is an assumption that we know what it is.

In fact, the Puget Sound region has been divided into many different geographic boundaries.  Continue reading

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Save the date: 2013 UW Water Symposium

The Center for Urban Waters and the Puget Sound Institute are pleased to announce that the 2013 University of Washington Water Symposium is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at the Husky Union Building on the UW, Seattle campus. The symposium brings together scientists and engineers to present and discuss water-related research for Washington and beyond. To read more about the event, or view past proceedings, visit the Water Symposium website.

 

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