Ecosystem Protection and Recovery Plan
The key goals of long-term planning for ecosystem protection and recovery are to:
- Ensure that funding is targeted at the highest priority local actions; and
- Coordinate protection and recovery actions across local areas and the region.
To advance these goals, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supporting the Puget Sound region’s Local Integrating Organizations in developing Five-year Ecosystem Recovery Plans and associated Two-year Implementation Plans. This focused, strategic recovery planning will achieve the following:
- Provide a roadmap for local ecosystem strategic efforts that focus protection and recovery planning and actions on the highest priority protection and recovery needs;
- Build on and work in coordination with existing related protection and recovery efforts including salmon recovery planning;
- Ensure consistency (in terminology, structure, and content) of local plans with the Puget Sound Action Agenda so that LIO priorities inform regional-decision making and sequencing of protection and recovery actions;
- Result from a rigorous, defensible process that will identify the highest priority protection and recovery strategies in each LIO area, thus helping to direct limited funding to where it will be most effective;
- Serve as a longer-term, durable strategic framework to help develop local Near Term Actions for the Puget Sound Action Agenda; and
- Provide accounting of existing work underway to improve the health of the LIO area, and identify gaps where work is needed.
Recognizing that ecosystem protection and recovery requires local actions to best motivate change, San Juan County and federally-recognized local tribes, in cooperation with a state agency called the Puget Sound Partnership, established a Local Integrating Organization. The San Juan Action Agenda Oversight Group is one of nine such organizations and brings together numerous existing committees, governmental and non-government organizations, county departments, tribes, and local watershed groups that coordinate actions to protect and restore the San Juan Islands’ ecosystems. Since 2011, these representatives have set priorities and designed local actions that have become a part of the Action Agenda for Puget Sound which serves as a “road map” to Puget Sound recovery.