Boeing Supports New Way Forward for Puget Sound
High impact projects will blend flood control, habitat restoration, stormwater reductions, recreation and agriculture preservation
Seattle | October 15, 2013
Puget Sound recovery is getting a new boost as environmental groups, The Boeing Company, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and state and federal governments are joining forces to spearhead a new approach accelerating the pace and scale of restoration efforts.
This collaboration is turning heads – Oct. 2, nearly 200 representatives from local governments, tribes, flood control managers and others packed the Edmonds Conference center to hear about the effort and explore ways to propel it forward.
The new approach, called Coordinated Investment, relies heavily on “Lean Management” concepts long embraced by Boeing. It will drive federal, state and local funding toward projects that will provide the biggest benefits to water quality, habitat and flood safety for Puget Sound.
In the past, floodplain management has occurred through a variety of programs and agencies, to serve many human interests. Too often, meeting one need comes at the expense of another.
Coordinated Investment for the first time mandates that diverse interests abandon their single-focused approach to project design, and instead focus on multiple benefits – blending elements of flood control, habitat restoration, stormwater reductions, recreation and agriculture preservation into larger, higher impact projects in critical Puget Sound estuaries.
Boeing is supporting the Coordinated Investment Initiative with a $300,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy, to enable the Conservancy to provide leadership and technical support for the Initiative.
“Significant and sustained progress is at its best when we come together with a shared purpose and understanding,” Kim Smith, Boeing vice president of Environment, Health and Safety said. “Applying lean management techniques – which demand collaboration and creativity – to the work of protecting and restoring our waterways will yield results more quickly and efficiently. This collaboration also supports our ongoing mission of environmental stewardship and we are pleased to lend our voice and expertise to this important effort.”
The Coordinated Investment Initiative has won support from the state Legislature, which, under the leadership of House capital budget chair Hans Dunshee, appropriated $50 million in funding this summer. These dollars will enable major restoration projects to improve water quality, wildlife habitat and flood protection for people living near eight of Puget Sound’s most important rivers. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is supporting the approach with a recent grant of $1.4 million dollars to support additional Coordinated Investment projects.
“We all share an interest in improving the health of our Puget Sound. It plays an essential role in Washington’s economy, our culture and our quality of life," Inslee said. "I appreciate Boeing’s commitment to partnering with the Nature Conservancy, an organization that is helping us move forward in keeping this shining jewel vibrant and healthy for generations to come. This is an effort that benefits all of Washington state.”
The initial projects address priorities of the Puget Sound Partnership and are sited in the floodplains of eight of Puget Sound’s most important rivers—the Nooksack, Stillaguamish, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Cedar, Puyallup, Skokomish and Dungeness. These areas contain the region’s richest farmland, host the Sound’s signature salmon runs, provide recreational opportunities for the 4 million people who live here and contain commercial, residential and industrial development worth billions of dollars. These floodplains also provide a critical line of defense that protects people and businesses from catastrophic floods.
“Boeing’s gift supporting the Coordinated Investment Initiative is enabling us to be more effective and efficient in bringing resources to bear to work at a scale to make a difference on the overall health of Puget Sound,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state director for the Conservancy. “It demonstrates a real commitment on the part of Boeing toward a healthy and livable Puget Sound.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.