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The South Central Local Integrating Organization (LIO), known as the Action Area Caucus Group, spent nearly a year working through the 144 sound-wide actions in the 2008 Action Agenda, discussing how actions translate to local communities, watersheds, and the larger South Central Puget Sound area. The Caucus Group identified a top tier of actions and then developed more specific action plans to promote coordination and efforts to advance those priority actions.
The Caucus Group involved the participation of member groups, ad hoc working groups, and significant help from both policy and technical staff of member organizations to identify the threats and pressures most significant to the South Central Action Area.
The South Central Action Area Caucus Group has identified four priority issues to address key pressures on the South Central Puget Sound ecosystem. The priority issues include:
The South Central Action Area Caucus Group also identified additional ecosystem pressures to address that are of specific importance to the South Central Puget Sound. The priority pressures include:
- Climate change
- Freshwater and marine shoreline armoring
- Freshwater levees
- Industrial pollutants
- Residential and commercial development
- Roads and railroads
- Municipal wastewater
Opportunities, Priorities, and Near-Term Actions
In addition to the priority pressures identified for the South Central Puget Sound area and the local contributions to the Action Agenda ecosystem targets, the South Central Action Area Caucus Group also developed key themes and recommendations that are fundamental to the strategies and near-term actions (NTAs) described in greater detail below. The key themes and recommendations from the Caucus Group are:
- Local land use and environmental standards are essential for habitat protection and there is a need for better alignment between state standards and the targets being set for Puget Sound recovery;
- To effectively deal with pressures and threats, desired outcome and actions will have to be tailored to land uses and development patterns while working toward a Soundwide target;
- There needs to be a more concerted effort to effectively advocate for federal and state funding (including preserving current funding) for salmon recovery. In addition, there is a need for an integrated funding strategy for Puget Sound with salmon recovery and stormwater as central elements. The strategy should also be aligned with land use and regulatory changes; and
- To successfully advocate for state and federal funding for stormwater investments in Puget Sound, there needs to be a more refined assessment of total need and priorities across the region for retrofits, operation and maintenance, and source control.
The South Central Action Area Caucus Group identified ten priority strategies, as listed below (in alphabetical order). The ten priority strategies were honed from a more comprehensive list of strategies that were all considered important in addressing the local pressures.
- Identify and prioritize areas for protection, restoration, and best suitable for (low impact) development
- Support local governments to adopt and implement plans, regulations, and policies consistent with protection and recovery targets, and incorporate climate change forecasts.
- Improve, strengthen, and streamline implementation and enforcement of laws, plans, regulations, and permits consistent with protection and recovery targets.
- Manage urban runoff at the basin and watershed scale.
- Prevent problems from new development.
- Fix problems caused by existing development (structural upgrades; regular and enhanced maintenance).
- Control sources of pollutants.
- Provide focused stormwater-related education, training, and assistance.
- Effectively manage & control pollution from small onsite sewage systems.
- Permanently protect priority nearshore physical and ecological processes and habitat, including shorelines, migratory corridors, and vegetation, particularly in sensitive areas such as eelgrass beds and bluff backed beaches.
- Implement prioritized nearshore and estuary restoration projects and accelerate projects on public lands.
- Remove armoring, and use soft armoring replacement or landward setbacks when armoring fails, needs repair, is non protective, and during redevelopment.
- Implement and maintain priority freshwater and terrestrial restoration projects.
- Implement a long-term, highly visible, coordinated public-awareness effort using the Puget Sound Starts Here brand.
- Implement & maintain priority floodplain restoration projects.
- Implement high-priority projects identified in each salmon recovery watershed’s three-year work plan.
- Support local governments to adopt and implement plans, regulations, and policies that protect the marine nearshore and estuaries, and incorporate climate change forecasts.
- Improve, strengthen, streamline nearshore & marine implementation & enforcement.
- Implement and strengthen authorities and programs to prevent toxic chemicals from entering the Puget Sound environment.
Updated near-term actions (NTA)s, 2018-2022
The South Central Action Area Caucus Group also identified 113 near-term actions (NTA)s to support the strategies and contribute to ecosystem recovery. These NTA's are listed in the DRAFT 2018-2022 Action Agenda for Puget Sound.
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