Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council Chair Martha Kongsgaard has announced that she will be stepping down from her post this year. Jay Manning will take over as chair on December 7th.
Kongsgaard has served on the council for nearly a decade and spent more than five years as its chair. During that time, she was a regular presence in Washington, D.C. where she advocated for increased federal funding to bring Puget Sound in parity with other major estuaries such as Chesapeake Bay.
Under Kongsgaard’s leadership, the Puget Sound Partnership made significant strides in establishing a science-based plan for environmental recovery, something that continues to influence many of the region’s conservation efforts.
Kongsgaard says she will continue to advocate on behalf of Puget Sound in various other capacities. “My heart, my passion, lie with this great estuary,” she wrote in a resignation letter to Governor Jay Inslee earlier this week. In addition to her longstanding work with the Puget Sound Partnership, Kongsgaard is president of the Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation and serves on numerous boards and foundations in the region including the Puget Sound Institute Advisory Board.
Jay Manning takes over as one of the Leadership Council’s most experienced members. He is currently the council’s Vice Chair and was one of the original co-chairs of the Puget Sound Partnership, with Billy Frank, Jr. and Bill Ruckelshaus.
The 2015 State of the Sound report from the Puget Sound Partnership points to lack of funding as one of the leading barriers to Puget Sound recovery. The report looks at ongoing progress to restore the health of the ecosystem, but according to the Partnership’s Executive Director Sheida Sahandy, “The rate at which we as a community are continuing to damage Puget Sound is greater than the rate at which we are fixing it.”
Overall, funding has fallen far short of critical needs, the report argues. Projects described in the state’s recovery plan as ‘Near Term Actions’, would have required $875 million to carry out during the years 2014 – 2015, but as of last June had received only $67 million. The period from 2012-2013 had a shortfall of 57%.
The State of the Sound also describes a lack of significant progress on several key areas of focus for state and federal recovery efforts. The agency tracks a series of ‘Vital Signs’ such as numbers of orcas or fluctuations in herring populations—there are 21 vital signs in all—as indicators of Puget Sound health. “The majority of Vital Sign indicators are, at best, only slowly changing. Few are at—or even within reach of—their 2014 interim targets,” reads the report.
Some vital signs have seen modest improvement, however. The Partnership says that in 2014 removal of shoreline armoring such as seawalls and bulkheads exceeded permits for new armoring structures. Goals for habitat restoration also made some steps forward.
The State of the Sound report includes a series of funding recommendations ranging from continuation of existing allocations to support of legislation that would direct additional funds to key areas like habitats, stormwater and restoration of shellfish beds.
Download the 2015 State of the Sound report.
The complex nature of ecosystem recovery in Puget Sound means that scientists and policymakers are often faced with tough decisions. Given finite resources and widespread need, where should they best focus their efforts?
Beginning this summer, Dr. Bill Labiosa will serve as a visiting scholar at the Puget Sound Institute to help develop decision science planning tools. Labiosa is currently a research scientist with the USGS Western Geographic Science Center and has a background in environmental engineering and decision analysis. He is also Vice Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel. Continue reading
The Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel has finalized its Biennial Science Work Plan for 2011-2013, and will present the document to the Leadership Council for approval on April 26th. Continue reading
The Puget Sound Partnership is seeking an experienced and energetic scientist to be their next Science Director. This important position reports directly to the PSP Director, represents science throughout the agency and beyond, and leads the PSP Science Team. The position may be filled through a direct hire or through an interagency agreement, and would be ideal for a broad-thinking ecosystem scientist who is interested in significantly impacting the direction of the Puget Sound restoration and protection activities.
Here is the link to the position, which will remain open until a sufficient pool of candidates is established:
You may also access the position announcement from the front page of the Partnership’s website – bottom right corner: http://www.psp.wa.gov/
Dave Peeler and Leska Fore have joined the Puget Sound Partnership’s science team to support the monitoring program.
Newly elected Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel Joe Gaydos began his term on January 25th, with Bill Labiosa serving as Vice Chair. Gaydos is the Chief Scientist for the SeaDoc Society, a marine ecosystem health program of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center. Gaydos has been a member of the Science Panel since 2009, and has spent the past eight years collecting and distributing scientific data on Puget Sound.