Olympia signs proclamation to protect Salish Sea


Olympia declared June 8, 2022 to June 7, 2023 as the Year of the Salish Sea.

By signing the proclamation on Tuesday, June 7, council members expressed commitment with the StehChass people  of the Squaxin Island Tribe to strengthen stewardship of the Salish Sea and build a more robust culture in support of water quality and salmon recovery.

“Olympia is on the land of the people of the StehChass of the Squaxin Island Tribe, the people of the water, who depend on the cultural and treaty-protected resources provided by the healthy Salish Sea,” the proclamation stated.

Olympia is located at the southernmost tip of the Salish Sea, known by most as as the Puget Sound.

According to project co-lead Simran Sarai, the Year of the Salish Sea is an international effort of municipalities in Washington and British Columbia, in collaboration with the First Nations, to respond to the issues facing the waters.

She said many cities on the Canadian side of the border also signed a proclamation with a commitment to protect the Salish Sea.

Sarai added that the Year of the Salish Sea project resulted from the 13-week dialogue program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C. "It was created, in part, as one way to address the multiple issues of the sea facing biodiversity loss, climate change, and sea-level rise."

Very few indicators for the health of Puget Sound met their 2020 targets as water quality, salmon, and Southern Resident orca continue to decline, according to the 2021 State of the Sound report.

Sarai said many groups in the United States and Canada joined in the collective effort to improve the health, awareness, and management of the Salish Sea.

"Thank you for the proclamation," said Sarai, "we are happy to advance transboundary cooperation and collaboration in the local community to work towards a healthier and more vibrant ecosystem."

Councilmember Jim Cooper noted that Olympia was the first city in Washington State to sign the proclamation to protect the sea. He wanted to pass the note to Thurston County and all Washington cities to increase awareness of the Salish Sea.

Sarai said anyone who depends on the Salish Sea or the watersheds that feed into it could join efforts. "We have municipalities [that joined the advocacy] here on the Canadian side that rely on the Fraser River, which has been relying on the watersheds and the salmon that go out to the Salish Seas."


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  • Southsoundguy

    “Puget Sound”

    Tuesday, June 14, 2022 Report this

  • sunshine39

    The Council members may say one thing, but their actions (or lack of) cause me to question their sincerity--two cases come to mind: The proposed 500 unit West Bay Yards and the shoreline extension planned by the developer as well as the Green Cove development on top of a highly polluted former dumping site. The Council has not supported efforts to clean up the existing pollution of Budd Inlet, would rather build on top of the polluted matter. I've read that Budd Inlet is one of the most highly polluted areas of the Salish Sea,

    Tuesday, June 14, 2022 Report this

  • JJmama

    True Sunshine39.....The Green Cove Development, West Bay Yards project, the building of Westman Mills on the Eastbay waterfront---built over fill which was not comprehensively mitigated/cleaned, the horrendous condition of Eastbay toxicity and dissolved oxygen levels, the failure to daylight Moxlie Creek, our largely unfiltered stormwater runoff into Budd Inlet.....there are many ways in which Olympia does not prioritize the water and the life it holds.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2022 Report this