Little progress toward Puget Sound recovery goals

BREMERTON — The latest progress report on the health of Puget Sound finds little progress toward recovery in the last few years.

The governing board of the Puget Sound Partnership approved the latest report on Friday, designed to measure progress toward goals the partnership set after the organization was created by the Legislature in 2007.

The Kitsap Sun reported that since then, the number of orcas and Chinook salmon have declined; herring stocks and eelgrass beds have not increased; and marine water quality shows a recent worsening trend.

There were two bright spots. Nearly 1,400 acres of commercial shellfish beds were recovered between 2007 and 2011, and about 2,300 acres of habitat were restored in 16 major river estuaries.

Including federal stimulus money, state and federal agencies have spent more than $230 million a year on Puget Sound restoration since 2008.

Officials say that the investments have clearly slowed the decline of the Puget Sound ecosystem. But after a century of degradation, it’s going to take time to fix it.

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