April 25, 2012
Communities across Western Washington will celebrate Puget Sound with family-friendly activities and educational programs during Puget Sound Starts Here Month in May.
"Puget Sound is a treasure that belongs to every one of us," said Gerry O'Keefe, director of the Puget Sound Partnership. "This is our home, and it's up to each of us to take care of our home for our kids, for our grandkids, and for our future. It's the responsible thing to do."
The goals of Puget Sound Starts Here Month are to raise awareness that Puget Sound is in trouble due to pollution, and that simple actions by all of the residents of the region can make a huge difference.
Residents are invited to events around Pierce County and Western Washington to learn how they can support the effort to protect Puget Sound.
"We are fortunate in Pierce County to have many opportunities to enjoy the beauty of Puget Sound," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "We rely on it for recreation, economic development, and more. By teaching our citizens simple things they can do to protect our local waterways, we can help preserve this iconic body of water for generations to come."
McCarthy and the Pierce County Council signed a joint proclamation declaring May as Puget Sound Starts Here Month in Pierce County during the Council's meeting April 24.
Upcoming events include:
May 5 at 6:10 p.m.: Hit a home run during Puget Sound Starts Here Night with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Visit www.mariners.com/pugetsound to purchase discount tickets.
May 12 from 9 a.m. to noon: Volunteer at Trout Unlimited's Puyallup River Clean-up. Meet at Johnny's Bar and Grill at 1100 N. Meridian on the corner of River Road and Meridian next to the Puyallup Fred Meyer. Volunteers will receive supplies, instructions and a free T-shirt.
May 19 from 9 a.m. to noon: Volunteer at the City of Puyallup Rain Garden Planting near DeCoursey Park. Visit www.cityofpuyallup.org for more information.
Visit www.piercecountywa.org/pssh for a full list of activities in Pierce County. For a list of activities throughout the Western Washington, visit www.PugetSoundStartsHere.org.
Puget Sound's health
Puget Sound features 2,500 miles of shoreline. It is home to countless species, including orcas, sea lions, salmon and shellfish, as well as 4.5 million people. Puget Sound creates economic opportunities for the area, including tourism, shipping and seafood, and the region's exceptional quality of life is a key reason many local companies stay and expand here.
Every year, millions of pounds of toxic pollutants enter Puget Sound. Most of that pollution is carried by runoff. When it rains, the water flows over hard surfaces such as houses, parking lots, driveways and streets, and picks up pollution along the way. This polluted runoff flows through ditches or storm drains and into local waterways. Most runoff is not treated before it reaches streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.
Simple actions you can take
If each resident makes even one small change, the combined efforts will have a tremendous positive impact.
• Never dump anything - liquid or solid - into a storm drain or drainage ditch.
• Fix auto leaks right away and take any used fluids to a recycling center.
• Take your car to a commercial car wash instead of washing it in your driveway.
• Pick up pet waste regularly - in your yard and on walks - and put it in the trash.
• Use natural yard products like compost and mulch. If you use chemical pesticides and fertilizers, follow the directions and use them sparingly.
• Store and dispose of household chemicals according to the instructions on the label.
• Landscape your yard with native plants and trees that will soak up more rain and slow the flow of runoff.
Puget Sound Starts Here is supported by a consortium of more than 400 organizations, including state and local governments, tribes, and non-governmental organizations, that are dedicated to cleaning up local waterways and Puget Sound.
Tiffany O'Dell, Public Works and Utilities education and outreach coordinator
Anne Radford, Public Works and Utilities public information officer