From individual action to teamwork – we can do it!

Taking Action

for Puget Sound and the Earth
-the big picture

We love the Puget Sound area. But keeping it healthy and productive takes teamwork.

Governmental commitments to action are a direct response to public concern about protecting and cleaning up the Sound. Local watershed management committees need your help. Our involvement in the public process is as important as taking the personal steps outlined in the previous chapters of this book.

Many community groups have already organized activities and projects designed to improve water quality. Garden clubs, church and scout groups, civic associations and service organizations, environmental and business groups, all have a stake in improving local water quality. If you belong to one of these groups, consider devoting one or more meetings to learning about water quality issues in your local area and in the region. You could feature a knowledgeable speaker, show a film, organize a panel discussion with local officials, or sponsor a half-day workshop on water quality issues.

Your county or city planning department or any number of Puget Sound advocacy organizations can help you find speakers for your meeting. The list of resources in the next chapter can also help you find speakers, as well as films and slide shows. Your group should plan to visit the locations of the problems discussed in your meeting about the Sound. If your local sewage treatment plant or landfill gives you cause for concern, arrange a tour and learn first-hand. Invite your city or county council member along.

The Adopt A Stream Handbook
(available by calling 1-800-441-4115) will help you find and diagnose potential problems. Walking the stream or shoreline can alert you to erosion problems, debris, highway and construction runoff, excessive algal growth, poisoned fish, foul smells, and direct discharges into the waterway. Mark the location of potential problems on a map, which your county government may be willing to provide for just that purpose.

The next step might be to organize a community stream clean-up to restore the stream and community pride in it. Once you become involved, the actions needed and how to accomplish them will become obvious. Your individual actions may be as simple as educating your neighbor about recycling aluminum cans or as complex as taking part in comprehensive plan development and zoning for your city or county.

Your group or civic organization can make even bigger contributions toward clean water. The cleaning of Lake Washington provides a national model for community organizations tackling an issue, becoming informed, using the scientific data, conducting publicity campaigns, and coming up with an alternate plan for action.

The health of our waters clearly depends upon the wise use of the watershed. As our population grows, controlling the effects of future growth is important. By getting involved in the planning stage, you can help limit the adverse effects of development. For more information about how you can participate in the process, call your city or county planning office.


Protecting the Sound:
It all begins at home
This guide can help all of us become stewards of Puget Sound. Only when we understand how our daily routines affect our waters can we restore their productivity and beauty. By taking care when disposing of household chemicals, using pesticides only when necessary, recycling oil and other materials, conserving water, planting trees, shrubs and plants, and by maintaining your lawn, you are taking steps to assure a healthy Puget Sound.

You may feel frustrated when it seems that large polluters continue their activities while you are taking steps to reduce your impact on the environment. It may even make your efforts seem insignificant.

First, our efforts are important. The cumulative effect of the million households in our watersheds represents a significant source of pollutants. So minimizing our individual impact is a worthwhile and important step.

Second, most large industries have already been mandated to change and have taken steps to reduce pollution. Resources have been budgeted to ensure that more time and money is directed toward the most severe problems.

Where to Go for Help – Resources for Taking the Next Steps