On behalf of the staff and Board at Puget Soundkeeper, I would like to thank all of Puget Soundkeeper’s members, volunteers, and supporters who helped make 2019 a successful year.  Together, we will continue to make a difference in preserving and protecting Puget Sound! As we transition into 2020, I’d like to reflect on some of our key successes:

  • Conducted 55 boat and kayak patrols, 144 volunteer cleanups, and collected over 13,000 pounds of marine debris;
  • Awarded one new Clean Marina Certificate and renewed three certificates in our award-winning statewide Clean Marina Washington program, and helping to secure a court victory in December upholding the Puget Sound No Discharge Zone;
  • Advanced environmental justice and community-based stewardship through our partnership with Unleash the Brilliance in our Lost Urban Creeks project, a program for at-risk youth that trains and empowers the leaders of tomorrow in watershed protection;
  • Held a successful Pack the Room Event with over 100 people in attendance at the EPA offices in Seattle to stop the EPA from rolling back Washington’s water quality standards;
  • Documented trends in watershed health through our Microplastics, Mussel Watch, and Urban Runoff Salmon Mortality monitoring projects;
  • Settled three Clean Water Act actions in federal court to better protect Puget Sound waterways from illegal industrial pollution, with $2.469 million directed to third-party community organizations through the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund to implement pollution mitigation projects;
  • Sent Notice of Intent to Sue Letters to Ardagh Glass, a Georgetown glass bottle manufacturer for polluted discharges to the Duwamish River, and to Pacific Coast Coal Company (John Henry Coal Mine) for stormwater pollution violations;
  • Appealed the Phase I and Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permits issued by WA Dept of Ecology. Thanks to Soundkeeper’s 2007 appeal of these permits, Low Impact Development (LID) is now required in Washington for new and redevelopment (see our Nature’s Scorecard tool for our rating of municipalities on incorporating LIDs);
  • Said goodbye to long-time Executive Director and Puget Soundkeeper Chris Wilke, and welcomed several new staff members, including myself, as the new Executive Director and Puget Soundkeeper.
  • Closed the year out on December 31st with a huge win against Anacortes Oil Refinery (Tesoro) which agreed to withdraw plans to manufacture and export 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylenes.

Finally, on behalf of the Board I would like to thank Julie Angell and Katelyn Kinn who stepped up to serve as Interim co-Executive Directors until the search for a new Executive Director was completed. Their dedication and passion exemplify the values of Puget Soundkeeper – to go above and beyond in fulfilling our mission to preserve and protect the waters of Puget Sound.

As you can see, we accomplished a great deal in 2019, and I look forward to another successful year in 2020 as we kick off a new strategic planning process. We could not have achieved everything we did without your support. On behalf of all of us at Puget Soundkeeper, THANK YOU!

I hope to see you on the water!

Chris Rilling                                                                                                                                                        Executive Director & Puget Soundkeeper

Chris gearing up for boat patrol on Parker, Puget Soundkeeper’s patrol vessel, with Blair, boat captain and Boating Programs Manager, at the helm.