Puget Sound Partnership has released a draft of its new Action Agenda for the restoration of Puget Sound. The entire document can be accessed here. Included in this plan is a detailed action strategy for the West Sound region covering Kitsap County and Hood Canal. The The Action Agenda in North Central/ West Puget Sound can be downloaded in PDF format here.
The net result of this plan is to expand the restrictions currently being applied to shorelines and watersheds. It does this by establishing new Priority Conservation Areas and establishing the concept of “no net loss of ecological function” for development in these areas.
“The West Sound Action Area is currently working to establish a Local Implementing Organization (LIO) that will leverage on-going efforts, improve communication and prioritize local actions. A representative planning group met in 2011 to work on identifying the local threats, strategies, and actions listed below and determine how to move implementation forward in the area.”
For the 2011 Action Agenda update, the West Sound has identified 12 local priority issues to address pressures on the West Sound ecosystem. The local priority issues are listed below, categorized by the four pressure reduction targets.
- Loss of Forest Cover, Riparian Habitat and intact freshwater ecosystems
- Population Growth, New Development and Redevelopment
- Transportation Network (shoreline roads, infrastructure needs, etc.)
- Protection of Existing High Quality, Highly Functioning Shoreline
- Surface Water Loading and Runoff from the Built Environment / Alteration of the hydrologic regime (increased flow/flooding)Impairment/enhancement of Groundwater Infiltration and Recharge
- Impairment/enhancement of Groundwater Infiltration and Recharge
- Identification and repair of Failing Septic Systems
- Discharge from Vessels
- Address gaps in Fisheries Management
- Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
- Loss and degradation of freshwater habitats
- Shellfish Protection and Restoration (loss of approved commercial growing area certification; loss of safe areas for shellfish harvest)
Local Implementation Structure
A planning group assembled in March 2011, including representation from the cities of Bremerton, Poulsbo, Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island; Kitsap and Pierce Counties; the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes; public utility districts; land trusts; WSU Extension; Kitsap Health District and the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council. The Port Districts and the City of Gig Harbor were invited but unable to attend.
The group met four times in 2011 and agreed to form a caucus based organization represented through four key areas: government and regulatory; restoration and protection; public health, education and outreach; and the private sector and commerce.
The LIO is expected to be established and operating in 2012. In the absence of an LIO, smaller workgroups and the West Sound Watersheds Council have been engaged to help identify local strategies and actions.
Selected Strategies and Actions
- Establish performance goals to ensure land cover changes create no net loss of important forested and freshwater ecosystem functions
- Support GMA to increase focus on accommodating population in urban areas to avoid loss of rural lands and important habitat.
- Encourage infill development in urban areas as an alternative to expanding UGAs
- Ensure transportation planning and development is aligned with ecosystem protection to avoid new development in priority conservation areas.
- Identify priority areas where otherwise functioning drift cells and their associated processes – erosion, sediment contribution, transport and deposition – are compromised by armoring, and encourage armoring removal and erosion control alternatives that better protect and restore nearshore ecosystem processes.
- Remove regulatory loopholes and provide incentives for removing armoring
- Identify drift cell processes — erosion, sediment contribution, transport and deposition — compromised by armoring.