A fisherman casts off Alki Point during the Sept. 13 sunset, using the waters People for Puget Sound sought to protect for over two decades before announcing a cease to operations.
People for Puget Sound to cease operations
People for Puget Sound, a steadfast voice for the protection of the Sound and Northwest Straights for over two decades, is calling it quits.
PPS Board President William Derry and Executive Director Tom Bancroft shared the news on Sept. 11.
“People for Puget Sond is at a crucial juncture,” they wrote. “Recent and current economic realities have constrained our ability to raise necessary funds to keep the organization moving forward independently.”
PPS plans to transition their extensive platform of environmental work “to other organizations that embrace our commitment to Puget Sound,” including the Washington Environmental Council and EarthCorps.
“Both of these venerable organizations are passionate about stopping the flow of polluted runoff into the Sound, restoring critical habitat, protecting shorelines, and preserving Puget Sound for generations to come,” Derry and Bancroft wrote. “We are confident that they will be able to efficiently and effectively carry our mission forward.”
During their decades of work, PPS was active in lobbying for laws and regulations in Olympia to protect the Sound and it’s inland waterways – targeting the goals of “reducing pollution, increasing habitat protection, and recovering wildlife and fish populations.”
In the West Seattle area, beyond working for the Sound, PPS coordinated several habitat restoration projects along the Duwamish River to “provide much needed minimum survival protection for migrating juvenile salmon emerging from the Green River system, filtration of upland stormwater flows and pleasant urban public access sites that connect humans with nature.”
Additional details on the transition of PPS projects to other organizations are expected in the coming weeks, so it is currently unknown which programs will be carried forward, such as Sound Stewardship where PPS trained community members to monitor conditions at selected sites and share their knowledge with others.
King County Executive and West Seattle resident Dow Constantine recognized the group for their many years of service upon the news of their closure:
“For more than two decades People for Puget Sound has been the advocate for our region’s most iconic and fragile natural resource. The Sound is at the core of our quality of life and prosperity in King County and beyond, teeming with biodiversity as a home to whales, salmon, seals, herons, eagles and countless other species.
“Without doubt the health of the Sound is better than it would have been without the work of People for Puget Sound, but it remains in serious jeopardy from pollution and loss of habitat.
“I want to thank all the dedicated staff and volunteers who have worked with People for Puget Sound for their incredible passion. The task is more important now than ever before. It is up to us now to pick up the baton and carry forward this urgent and vital mission.”
BJ Cummings with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition also commented on the loss of People for Puget Sound.
"People for Puget Sound was a founding member of DRCC, and continues to serve on our Advisory Board," Cummings wrote. "We're saddened at this loss in our community, but confident that its programs will continue and thrive at WEC and EarthCorps. The important thing is to continue the critical work they do to protect and restore Puget Sound."