WHEREAS, the State of Washington is committed to a healthy environment and economic vitality, and protecting and restoring salmon and the watersheds in which they live are essential for both; and
WHEREAS, as authorized by the Legislature, 1) a comprehensive Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon was completed in 1999; 2) the Salmon Recovery Funding Board was created in 1999; 3) the Comprehensive Monitoring Strategy and Action Plan for Watershed Health and Salmon Recovery was published in 2002; and
WHEREAS, coordinating state agency monitoring efforts for salmon and watersheds will provide for a more efficient and effective use of monitoring resources that, coupled with an emphasis on the outcomes of our investments, enhances accountability to the public, the Legislature and Congress; and
WHEREAS, tracking progress in achieving salmon recovery goals, and improving coordination and implementation of monitoring and related information management efforts are essential to making the best investments in salmon recovery and watershed health.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Gary Locke, Governor of the State of Washington, declare my commitment that state government operations be conducted in a manner that improves coordination of the state's monitoring efforts associated with salmon recovery and watershed health.
It is therefore ordered and directed that:
- The Governor's Forum on Monitoring Salmon Recovery and Watershed Health is created, consistent with the Comprehensive Monitoring Strategy and Action Plan for Watershed Health and Salmon Recovery. The Governor's Salmon Recovery Office, Department of Ecology, Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation/Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Department of Agriculture, and the Puget Sound Action Team shall each appoint a representative to participate in the Forum; the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Transportation, Conservation Commission, and the Commissioner of Public Lands are each requested to appoint a representative to participate. Two members of the Governor's Forum on Monitoring will act as co-chairs: the Chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- The Governor's Forum on Monitoring shall provide a multi-agency venue for coordinating technical and policy issues and actions related to monitoring salmon recovery and watershed health; make recommendations on biennial reporting of monitoring results and progress in watershed health and salmon recovery foster integrated analysis and reporting of monitoring information; and provide monitoring recommendations to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Governor's Salmon Recovery Office and appropriate state agencies. The Governor's Forum on Monitoring shall not hinder agencies from using other protocols to address mandated agency-unique activities. Individual agencies may express independent or minority opinions on areas of disagreement.
- The Governor's Forum on Monitoring shall develop a broad set of measures that will convey results and progress on salmon recovery and watershed health in ways that are easily understood by the public, legislators and Congress. The Forum is also encouraged to develop such indicators with federal, tribal, regional and local partners working on salmon recovery and watershed health so that there is standardization of the measures used.
- The Governor's Forum on Monitoring is directed to coordinate with local and regional watershed and salmon recovery groups, tribes, other states, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.
- By January 2006, and biennially thereafter, the Governor's Forum on Monitoring will provide a report of its key activities and recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature, and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
This executive order shall take effect immediately.