Two days in the other Washington

Our intrepid crewI found myself in what was a departure from my well worn paths across the Puget Sound region. I was joining a group of colleagues to talk with national leadership and decision makers  about the health of Puget Sound and how their  voice and actions were critical to protecting the Salish Sea, the nation’s largest estuary. Our visit was both timely and impactful. Our team represented a partnership from many nonprofit, for profit, public and private organizations. We arrived carrying the weight that our progress to-date has been slow, balanced with excitement because momentum is gaining and the tide is turning. WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS.

During our whirlwind visit, we met with many elected leaders including, Congressmen Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer and Rick Larson, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and Senator Patty Murray. We also spent time with EPA staff who have been dedicated to the health of Puget Sound and other water bodies. Their bold vision and dedication have brought positive impacts, not just for the ecosystem, but for our economy and community. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to thank them for their hard work. We left  inspired, knowing that our local innovations are having an impact, but also with our minds more clearly around the importance of continued collaboration with our federal agency partners along with the local landowners and regional leaders that we usually collaborate with.

I have gained a deeper appreciation for the incredible team that I work with locally. When we first arrived in D.C., we were greeted by the words of Puget Sound Partnerships executive director, Sheida Sahandy. “This group of allies is a family.” I have often felt this way, but the sentiment rings even more true  after this lobbying effort. Each partner is unique, has distinct talents and proclivities and we really do cheer for each other. Our shared love for the work that we do for the amazing place called Puget Sound, it’s people, it’s water, it’s land, it’s air, and many other inhabitants, ties us together.

As a region, there is so much pride, love and respect for our Pacific Northwest home. Sometimes, we don’t agree on the best path forward, but still agree on the goal of a healthy and resilient region full of opportunities. So with that, after spending two days on the other coast thanking federal leaders who may not often hear those words, I turn to you, our friends and partners and want to extend my thanks to you as well.

We are grateful for this Stewardship Partners community that truly is shining a bright green beacon for all to see. 

Sincerely, Dr Aaron Clark

Puget Sound Partnership Press Release
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAPSP/bulletins/196d3d8

Puget Sound Success Stories
https://pugetsoundinnovationstories.blog/