Creation of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus will draw focused attention in the other Washington to the health and restoration of Puget Sound. Years of work by former congressman Norm Dicks is put into a familiar context on Capitol Hill.
Credit goes to Reps. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, and Derek Kilmer-D-Gig Harbor, for co-founding a working group that looks exclusively at Puget Sound, and all it means to the region.
As the two representatives noted in a statement last week, the caucus will focus in the immediate future on three recovery priorities: preventing pollution from urban storm water runoff, protecting and restoring habitat and restoring and re-opening shellfish beds.
What Heck and Kilmer have done is to create a forum where all the relevant activities, features and roles of Puget Sound can be promoted in Congress: water quality, conservation, treaty rights, resource management, recreation and economic development, among others.
Puget Sound is the nation’s second largest estuary. Tucked into the upper left-hand corner of the U.S. it can seem pretty distant, indeed, remote to others. Or about the same way Washingtonians feel about the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay, both of which have congressional caucuses.
Competition for attention and federal funds is intense. Forming a caucus to help educate colleagues about the issues surrounding the health, use and enjoyment of Puget Sound is an admirable effort.