Dear Puget Soundkeeper Members, Volunteers, Partners, and Supporters,

For the first time since the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order was issued on March 23rd, Governor Inslee announced reopening of non-essential services such as residential construction, provided construction sites meet safety and social-distancing requirements spelled out in a 30-point plan.  In addition, the Governor announced a partial reopening of some outdoor recreation activities.  As of Tuesday, May 5th, some outdoor recreation will be allowed with appropriate safety precautions, including: fishing, hunting, playing golf, and day use at state parks, state public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources and at state Fish and Wildlife areas.

While this is good news, the relaxation of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order does not affect Puget Soundkeeper, and our offices will remain closed until we receive further guidance from the Governor’s office.  This includes continued postponement of all kayak and boat patrols, and all other outreach events for the time being.  Should things change, we will be the first to let you know through our Puget Soundkeeper email and webpage alerts. When activities such as kayak or boat patrols are eventually reopened, you can rest assured that we will follow all state guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our staff and volunteers.  This will likely mean reduced numbers of participants on our kayak patrols as well as a host of other safety and social distancing requirements.

While we await the gradual reopening of non-essential activities in Washington, our Puget Soundkeeper team has been diligently working to mobilize several new, online, virtual environmental efforts to engage our volunteers and supporters in continuing to protect the waters of Puget Sound.  We launched a virtual cleanup on Instagram and Facebook with hashtag #PSKVirtualCleanup, including recreational tips on how to safely cleanup while outdoors and on the water, and will be kicking off a May “Repurposing Challenge” where you will be eligible to win a Puget Soundkeeper t-shirt.  We’ve also started our annual GiveBig fundraising push for May 5th – 6th.  Please consider scheduling a donation and building your own FUNdraising to support Puget Soundkeeper’s clean water efforts during this challenging time.

We also invite you to browse our new Shop for Clean Water page for products that support our clean water work.  HABITUDEshop hair, skin and body care products is making an Earth Month donation to Soundkeeper for every product or service deal purchased through the end of the month, and both French Girl and Apple State Vinegar are also donating a portion of their product sales to Puget Soundkeeper.

Like all of you, we are navigating the challenges caused by this pandemic – as an organization, as community stewards, parents, and caregivers.  We are all doing the best we can and applaud you for your perseverance, especially our frontline heroes who may be risking their health and safety to respond to this crisis and keep our society running.  And our thoughts are always with those who have been most impacted by this crisis and are most vulnerable at this time. 

Your collective resilience in the midst of this crisis continues to inspire our Puget Soundkeeper team.  Whatever the obstacle, we are driven to persist and fight for the waterways we all rely on.  We remain hopeful and steadfast in our commitment to protect and preserve a healthy Puget Sound.  Thank you for continuing to be on this journey with us.  We will all get through this together, and we hope to see you back on the water soon.

In gratitude,

Chris Rilling

Puget Soundkeeper & Executive Director