News Article | May 24, 2017
(AP) — The Trump administration makes a straightforward case for slashing $427 million in federal spending to heal ailing regional water bodies such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound: State and local governments should do the work and foot the bill. Supporters of the programs argue it's not that simple. Cleaning up the nation's iconic waterways is a team effort involving all levels of government, with nonprofit groups, universities and other players pitching in and the federal government serving as coach and sometimes as referee. If Washington walks away, some participants fear, the partnerships could unravel and the cleanups falter. "Federal involvement is critical to keeping the states working together," said Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which advocates for restoration of the nation's largest estuary. "The states put in a lot of money, but the federal partnership is crucial." The proposed Environmental Protection Agency budget for fiscal 2018 released Tuesday calls for eliminating a series of initiatives targeting regional waters plagued with pollution that threatens human health, kills fish and harms tourism. A White House summary said the programs fund "primarily local efforts," although they "have received significant federal funding, coordination and oversight to date." It adds, "State and local groups are engaged and capable of taking on management of clean-up and restoration of these water bodies." Congress will have the final say about the suggested cuts, which have drawn criticism from lawmakers in both parties. The programs are popular with constituents who treasure clean beaches and good fishing. Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican and member of the staunchly conservative Freedom Caucus, was among the signatories of a Feb. 23 letter to President Donald Trump supporting continued funding of the Chesapeake Bay rescue. "We must ensure that this important work continues, and that federal funds continue to be available to support this effort," the letter said. Even with such strong bipartisan backing, advocates say Trump's opposition leaves the programs highly vulnerable. Even if they survive, they might lose some of their funding at a time when strapped state and local governments would be hard-pressed to make up the difference. "Our state is having a tremendous budget challenge as it is," said Sheida Sahandy, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, a Washington state agency. Sahandy and other officials pointed out that many of the federal grants awarded under the water restoration programs require at least partial matching funds from other participants. State and local governments, Native American tribes, environmental groups and others already chip in substantial sums. But they look to EPA and other federal agencies to provide financial and administrative leadership. "The great threat is that you lose faith among state agencies and local communities that the federal government will do their share," said Brian Moore, the National Audubon Society's policy director for the Gulf of Mexico, another waterway with a cleanup program that would be defunded under the Trump budget. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided funds to remove contaminated sediments from harbors, fight invasive species, restore wildlife habitat and study harmful algal blooms — the most severe problems affecting the world's largest freshwater system. It's the biggest of the regional programs, usually receiving about $300 million a year — a total of more than $2 billion since President Barack Obama established it in 2010. The federal largesse not only helps pay for thousands of cleanup projects, supporters said. It gives the EPA leverage to help forge a common front among eight states — from Minnesota to New York — that compete with each other economically and can have sharp political differences. Cameron Davis, who oversaw the Great Lakes initiative as a former EPA senior adviser, said it was crucial in uniting the region around a strategy for preventing invasive Asian carp from reaching the lakes through a Chicago-area canal at a time when the states were feuding over the matter in court. "Funding has a magical way of bringing people to the table that otherwise might not pull up a chair," Davis said. Federal involvement also helped spur action in the Chesapeake Bay, Baker said. The watershed includes parts of six states and Washington, D.C., which often were at odds over responsibilities of those nearest the bay and those farther upstream. Under the program, he said, the federal government brings funding, technical assistance and "a willingness to call out a state that is not participating and therefore dragging the collective group down." "This is a prime example of the cooperative federalism that the administration talks about," Baker said. "We're totally perplexed as to why they'd want to end it."
Ward D.,Puget Sound Partnership |
Pozdena R.,ECONorthwest |
Brown B.,PRR Inc. |
Ransley L.,Puget Sound Partnership |
And 2 more authors.
Coastal Management | Year: 2014
With growing numbers of programs devoted to environmental behavior change, there is a corresponding need for measures of behavior change at a variety of scales. In this article, we describe the "Sound Behavior Index," an ongoing behavior change measure developed for the Puget Sound region. It tracks 28 residential-scale practices that can affect water quality and aquatic habitat. The index is based on a survey conducted every two years among a statistical sample of the region's 4.5 million residents. It asks about specific, measurable, repetitive behaviors that are driven by personal choice. The Sound Behavior Index distills the region's environmental performance into a single regional score, which can be tracked across time. The index can be broken down to the county level, providing more meaningful local measures. It can also be used to track each component behavior. Until now, there have been no uniform behavior change measures in the region, no regional measures, and no consistent local measures aside from one county. The Sound Behavior Index fills those gaps by measuring long-term shifts in environmental behaviors across the Puget Sound region. © 2014 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Tallis H.,Stanford University |
Lester S.E.,University of California at Santa Barbara |
Ruckelshaus M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
Plummer M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
And 19 more authors.
Marine Policy | Year: 2012
Policies are arising around the world, most recently in the United States, that mandate the implementation of marine spatial planning as a practical pathway towards ecosystem-based management. In the new United States ocean policy, and several other cases around the globe, ecosystem services are at the core of marine spatial planning, but there is little guidance on how ecosystem services should be measured, making it hard to implement this new approach. A new framework is shown here for practical, rigorous ecosystem service measurement that highlights contributions from both natural and social systems. The novel three-step framework addresses traditional shortcomings of an ecosystem services approach by giving managers and scientists the tools to assess and track: (1) the condition of the ecosystem (supply metrics), (2) the amount of ocean resources actually used or enjoyed by people (service metrics), and (3) people's preference for that level of service (value metrics). This framework will allow real world progress on marine spatial planning to happen quickly, and with a greater chance for success. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Johnson L.L.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
Ylitalo G.M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
Myers M.S.,Myers Ecotoxicology Services LLC |
Anulacion B.F.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
And 2 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015
From 2000-2004 a monitoring study was conducted to evaluate the impacts of aluminum smelter-derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on the health of fish in the marine waters of Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada. These waters are part of the historical fishing grounds of the Haisla First Nation, and since the 1950s the Alcan Primary Metal Company has operated an aluminum smelter at the head of the Kitimat Arm embayment. As a result, adjacent marine and estuarine sediments have been severely contaminated with a mixture of smelter-associated PAHs in the range of 10,000-100,000. ng/g. dry. wt. These concentrations are above those shown to cause adverse effects in fish exposed to PAHs in urban estuaries, but it was uncertain whether comparable effects would be seen at the Kitimat site due to limited bioavailability of smelter-derived PAHs. Over the 5-year study we conducted biennial collections of adult English sole (. Parophrys vetulus) and sediment samples at the corresponding capture sites. Various tissue samples (e.g. liver, kidney, gonad, stomach contents) and bile were taken from each animal to determine levels of exposure and biological effects, and compare the uptake and toxicity of smelter-derived PAHs with urban mixtures of PAHs. Results showed significant intersite differences in concentrations of PAHs. Sole collected at sites nearest the smelter showed increased PAH exposure, as well as significantly higher prevalences of PAH-associated liver disease, compared to sites within Kitimat Arm that were more distant from the smelter. However, measures of PAH exposure (e.g., bile metabolites) were surprisingly high in sole from the reference sites outside of Kitimat Arm, though sediment and dietary PAHs at these sites were low, and fish from the areas showed no biological injury. PAH uptake, exposure, and biological effects in Kitimat English sole were relatively lower when compared to English sole collected from urban sites contaminated with PAH mixtures from other sources. These findings indicate that while smelter-associated PAHs in Kitimat Arm appear to be causing some injury to marine resources, they likely have reduced bioavailability, and thus reduced biological toxicity, compared to other environmental PAH mixtures. © 2015.
Collier T.K.,Puget Sound Partnership |
Anulacion B.F.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
Arkoosh M.R.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
Dietrich J.P.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
And 4 more authors.
Fish Physiology | Year: 2013
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are derived from both natural and anthropogenic sources and are released from a wide range of industries and everyday activities. Unlike many other organic chemical contaminants that are manufactured and regulated, PAHs continue to be released on a global scale because of the world's dependence on fossil fuels. This chapter briefly reviews the transformation of PAHs in the aquatic environment, highlighting their efficient metabolism in fish and focuses on evidence that links PAH exposure to a wide range of biological dysfunctions in fish. These dysfunctions include neoplasia, reduced reproductive success and other types of endocrine disruption, immunotoxicity, postlarval growth and somatic condition, transgenerational impacts, and finally, recent findings showing that the embryonic development of fish is severely affected by extremely low concentrations of PAH exposure. A brief review of the effects of naphthenic acids on fish is also included because these compounds are increasingly recognized as major factors in the toxicity of process waters from a variety of petroleum sources, most notably the immense oil sands deposits found in Alberta, Canada.It is recommended that future research for understanding and mitigating the effects of PAHs in fish and associated aquatic ecosytems should include the following.• Using models to link molecular-up-to-organismal level effects to population-relevant metrics.• Building on current case studies demonstrating the effects of PAHs on the health of fish in their natural environments in order to derive regulatory approaches. Current approaches that rely on biota to sediment accumulation factors (BSAF) will not work with contaminants that are efficiently metabolized by species of concern.• Focusing considerable resources on better analytical chemistry for both PAHs and naphthenic acids. Currently, our ability to understand and mitigate the effects of these substances is heavily limited by constraints in analysis. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Biedenweg K.,Stanford University |
Biedenweg K.,University of Washington |
Hanein A.,University of Washington |
Nelson K.,Kara Nelson Consulting |
And 4 more authors.
Coastal Management | Year: 2014
Planning for and monitoring human wellbeing (HWB) as a component of ecosystem recovery is a growing trend in environmental management. Within the Puget Sound specifically, organizations at the watershed and basin scale have been developing recovery action plans with placeholders for HWB or quality of life indicators. While the actual incorporation of HWB into policy has been limited, there is significant interest to receive guidance for developing indicators and begin addressing HWB in practice. This article describes the results of a pilot process to develop scientifically and practically relevant HWB indicators for the Hood Canal watershed of the Puget Sound. We gathered data on why residents and visitors value the Hood Canal from prior surveys, workshops, and nineteen open-ended interviews with diverse residents from the region. We coded these values into potential indicators of HWB for six domains: Psychological, Cultural, Social, Physical, Economic, and Governance. Three facilitated workshops with expert-stakeholders and an online survey with social scientists helped refine and rate indicators for recommendation to the regional watershed recovery coordinating council. We present the final indicators, detail the methods for getting to them, and discuss how they will be applied to enhance watershed recovery in the Hood Canal watershed. We then describe how this process can be replicated elsewhere and how it will be used to test hypotheses about scalability of HWB indicators in the Puget Sound. © 2014 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Biedenweg K.,Oregon State University |
Biedenweg K.,University of Washington |
Stiles K.,Puget Sound Partnership |
Wellman K.,Northern Economics Inc.
Marine Policy | Year: 2016
Marine managers increasingly recognize the interconnections between management strategies, ocean health and human wellbeing. While recent trends in marine policy seek to consider the effects of natural resource management on human wellbeing, most resource management agencies have limited indicators of human elements. Part of the difficulty in addressing human wellbeing is that there is no consensus on its definition nor how it can be influenced by marine health. To address this gap, this paper describes a framework that identifies six domains of human wellbeing that are affected by the status of the environment: physical, psychological, cultural, social, economic, and governance. The framework is then applied in two case studies for developing social attributes and indicators from the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The reactions to the framework and examples of using it to inform marine policy are included, demonstrating that it is a broadly useful, scientifically-grounded structure for selecting environmentally related human wellbeing indicators. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Wulkan B.,Puget Sound Partnership
Low Impact Development 2010: Redefining Water in the City - Proceedings of the 2010 International Low Impact Development Conference | Year: 2010
In 1999, few professionals in the Puget Sound region were familiar with low impact development (LID). Far fewer possessed the confidence and experience to assert that it should be required for new development and redevelopment projects. Yet research and on the ground projects suggested that LID showed great potential for improving how we develop land and manage stormwater. Based on this potential, the Puget Sound Action Team added LID to the state and federal plan to restore Puget Sound. The 2000 Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan called on local governments in the basin to adopt ordinances to allow and encourage LID. This document, combined with the energy and expertise of many dynamic, forward-thinking professionals in the region, helped make Puget Sound a national leader in the voluntary implementation of LID. Fast forward to August 2008, and the success of this voluntary approach has proven so successful that the state Pollution Control Hearings Board ruled that LID should be required, where feasible, in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Phase I Permit. In a follow up ruling on the NPDES Municipal Phase II Permit in February 2009, the board directed permittees to take steps to prepare for LID requirements in future permits. LID had shifted in the region, in less than ten years, from a voluntary approach to an NPDES permit requirement. Design and engineering practices typically evolve slowly. Why did this change occur? What factors led to this swift, significant and sweeping change? This presentation will explore the environmental, social and political factors behind this change. Presenting will be Bruce Wulkan, who authored the LID section of the 2000 Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan; managed the first LID national conference in Seattle in 2001; and currently manages the state's LID program for Puget Sound. © 2010 ASCE.