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Message from the Governor
Earth Day started 34 years ago with a commitment. That commitment lives on through the work of volunteers across our state who engage in countless significant projects to help our environment. Not just one day a year, but throughout the year.
I was a Boy Scout in the 1960s. Being a Scout got me out in the natural world. It was better than just reading about it—I experienced the environment first-hand. That really helped me understand how precious and fragile our environment is.
Today we face the challenge of addressing the consequences of past actions. We must recover and restore our natural systems. We may not be able to restore them to their original pristine condition. But we can work toward a natural system that is compatible with our communities.
Many of our restoration projects are small. But each one is a significant step toward restoring the ecology of our region. These efforts take time and money. We must remain committed to investing both. We know these investments pay off.
|Quote of the Week
“Taking good care of our planet is everyone's job, 365 days a year. Each of us must be involved in keeping our environment healthy. We all must do our part in leaving the legacy of our state's natural beauty to future generations.”
—Governor Locke, April 20, 2004
For example, the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board, started during my administration, has issued grants and matching funds of more than $200 million, for more than 655 projects. All of these projects are habitat enhancement and restoration for salmon. This doesn't include other projects by federal and state agencies, cities, counties and Tribes.
And these projects are yielding results. Nearly 11,000 acres of salmon habitat have been acquired since 1999. More than 1100 fish passage barriers have been removed. Some 1300 miles of stream have been opened to salmon.
And last week our first completed watershed plan was signed for the Nisqually River watershed.
Our work continues. There are still too many contaminated hot spots in Puget Sound that must be cleaned. Fish passage barriers remain. And we must continue our work to restore shoreline habitat.
In the coming months we will be working to unite salmon recovery efforts with watershed planning efforts. We must find ways to be even more efficient in our planning and actions. We must avoid duplication of effort and maximize the resources we have available for these on the ground projects.
Our goal is that our next state budget will reflect not only these systemic improvements, but will also continue the commitment of the state for habitat restoration projects.
I have signed a proclamation recognizing April 22nd as Earth Day for our state. I urge all citizens to participate in local watershed planning activities and to engage with others in habitat restoration projects. I also encourage you to involve your children in your work so the values of our natural environment can be handed down to future generations.Sincerely,
The Work Ahead
This week Governor Locke identified his key priorities for the next 90 days build off the momentum of a very productive 2004 legislative session. “We will again engage in our successful Priorities of Government process to identify the most effective use of state dollars in our 2005-07 budget proposal. We will promote Washington businesses and agricultural products abroad. We will encourage all children in the state to participate in the 2004 Governor's Summer Reading Challenge. And we will also host the nation's governors in Seattle this July.” The Governor also emphasized his plan to make further progress on regulatory reform; continue efforts on the Bio 21 initiative—a public-private, non-profit partnership to further fund the state's research capacity in biotechnology and information technology; implement civil service reform and collective bargaining with all state unions; continue policy work on such issues as problem gambling and the state's mental health system; and continue salmon recovery efforts and propose a water management plan for the Columbia River.
Restoring Hamm Creek
Governor Locke joined volunteers in celebrating Earth Day by planting trees at the Hamm Creek restoration site along the banks of the Duwamish River. Hamm Creek is one of many sites People For Puget Sound is restoring for birds, salmon and other wildlife. The Hamm Creek Project is part of the Elliott Bay/Duwamish Restoration Program. This program is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Muckleshoot and Suquamish tribes, the state Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities, and the King County Department of Natural Resources.
Cruising Toward a Cleaner Puget Sound
Governor Locke signed a memorandum of understanding to guide the environmental practices of cruise ships sailing in Puget Sound on April 20. “I congratulate the commitment the cruise industry is making to do business in a manner that protects our environment,” the Governor said. “This agreement shows that we can embrace economic development without sacrificing environmental protection.” The state Department of Ecology, the Northwest Cruise Ship Association and the Port of Seattle developed the agreement. The pact provides new protections for Washington's marine waters while meeting the business needs of the growing cruise industry in this region. It will also provide open access to environmental information about cruise ships operating in Washington. “The bottom line is that we gain a lot through this agreement,” the Governor said. “We will foster an important maritime industry while also raising the level of protection as the ships pass through our treasured and vulnerable marine waters.”
Success Story: Leading Washington to Digital Distinction
Stuart McKee, director of the state Department of Information Services, has been recognized as one of Government Technology magazine's “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.” Governor Locke appointed McKee to direct DIS in April 2002. McKee's leadership has helped strengthen Washington's position as a leader in digital government. Washington recently won the Center for Digital Government's Sustained Leadership Award. “I think this was a recognition not only of our ability to do a good thing and be out in front, but to be out in front year after year,” McKee said. “That award reflected the momentum of my organization before I got here, and it recognized that the momentum has carried through, and in many cases, is accelerating.”
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