Joe says: Save the sound? Canadian-US dialogue needs to improve.….

Posted March 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm by

Over on Orcas, Joe Gay­dos is one of the peo­ple I lis­ten to, when it comes to sort­ing out pri­or­i­ties relat­ed to sav­ing our ecosys­tem… here are his thoughts on one way to make things better:

Increased US — Cana­di­an coop­er­a­tion is among oth­er basic prin­ci­ples that need to be fol­lowed to save Puget Sound.

A new research paper, just pub­lished in the inter­na­tion­al jour­nal Eco­Health, finds that a major prin­ci­ple for restor­ing ecosys­tems is lack­ing in efforts to restore the health of Puget Sound.

“Efforts to save Puget Sound must revolve around a work­ing prin­ci­ple that ecosys­tems do not rec­og­nize polit­i­cal bor­ders. To save Puget Sound, the U.S. and Cana­da must work togeth­er much more close­ly than is cur­rent­ly prac­ticed,” said Joe Gay­dos, the study’s lead author. Gay­dos is Chief Sci­en­tist and Region­al Direc­tor of the SeaD­oc Soci­ety, a non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that funds sci­ence to improve the health of the Sal­ish Sea. The Sal­ish Sea is a name often used for the U.S./Canadian inland sea that includes Washington’s Puget Sound and British Columbia’s Geor­gia Strait.

“While there is some coor­di­na­tion between U.S. and Cana­di­an ini­tia­tives to heal the Sal­ish Sea, it is not near­ly enough.  The inter­na­tion­al polit­i­cal bound­ary is invis­i­ble to marine fish and wildlife, includ­ing species list­ed as threat­ened or endan­gered” Gay­dos said. “Oceano­graph­ic process­es, such as fresh­wa­ter from rivers and streams, and cur­rents exchange plank­ton, sed­i­ments, and nutri­ents through­out the entire ecosys­tem, not just Puget Sound.”  Gay­dos not­ed that Canada’s Fras­er Riv­er is Puget Sound’s largest source of fresh water.

“Our salmon and our whales are your salmon and your whales,” added Jane Wat­son, Marine Ecol­o­gist at Van­cou­ver Island Uni­ver­si­ty and one of the SeaD­oc Society’s Sci­ence Advi­sors. “We can­not change the nature or bound­aries of the ecosys­tem but with improved coop­er­a­tion and bilat­er­al com­mit­ment, we can joint­ly recov­er imper­iled species and clean up the water.”

Mil­lions of dol­lars have been spent on restor­ing places like the Chesa­peake Bay and the Ever­glades, but the suc­cess has been lim­it­ed and there is not a suc­cess­ful mod­el to fol­low. In addi­tion to call­ing for coor­di­nat­ed ini­tia­tives at the ecosys­tem lev­el, the paper calls out nine oth­er crit­i­cal prin­ci­ples that need to be fol­lowed to design a healthy Puget Sound and Sal­ish Sea. These include: account­ing for con­nec­tiv­i­ty in the ecosys­tem, bet­ter under­stand­ing the food web, avoid­ing habi­tat frag­men­ta­tion, respect­ing the integri­ty of the sys­tem, tak­ing actions that sup­port resilience, appre­ci­at­ing the eco­nom­ic val­ue of a healthy ecosys­tem, mon­i­tor­ing wildlife health, plan­ning for extreme events and shar­ing our knowl­edge about the ecosys­tem with every­one in the region.

A copy of the man­u­script is avail­able at The SeaD­oc Soci­ety works to ensure the health of marine wildlife and their ecosys­tems through sci­ence and edu­ca­tion. A pro­gram of the Wildlife Health Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis (UC Davis), the SeaD­oc Soci­ety has a region­al focus on improv­ing the health of the Sal­ish Sea.

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Categories: Around Here, Enviro Corner

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