May is Puget Sound Starts Here Month. The goal of this month is to raise awareness that Puget Sound is in trouble due to a variety of pollution sources, and to empower residents to make a difference through simple actions and local volunteer opportunities.
Puget Sound is home to countless species, including orcas, sea lions, salmon and shellfish, as well as 4.5 million people who live, work and play across the 12 counties of Puget Sound. The Puget Sound region stretches from the Cascade mountain snowcaps to Puget Sound’s whitecaps. It includes farmland and cities, woodlands and industry, and all the places we love in between.
The pressures Puget Sound faces
Every year, millions of pounds of toxic pollutants enter Puget Sound. Much of that pollution comes from runoff. When it rains, the water flows over hard surfaces like roofs, parking lots, driveways and streets, picking up pollution along the way. This polluted runoff flows through ditches or storm drains and into local waterways. Most runoff is not treated.
You can make a difference in Puget Sound’s health
- Volunteer to help with habitat restoration projects. Find a volunteer restoration project in your neighborhood through the Green Kirkland Partnership.
- Take your car to a commercial car wash instead of washing it in your driveway.
- Fix auto leaks right away and take any used fluids to a hazardous waste recycling center like the Factoria Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off.
- Store and dispose of household chemicals according to the instructions on the label.
- Pick up pet waste and place it in the trash.
- Never dump anything – liquid or solid – into a storm drain or drainage ditch.
- Use natural yard products like compost and mulch. If you use chemical pesticides and fertilizers, follow the directions and use them sparingly. Choose least harmful chemicals using the Grow Smart, Grow Safe guide.
- Landscape your yard with native plants and trees that soak up rain and slow the flow of runoff. Find information on natural yard care and seasonal classes at www.naturalyardcare.info.
Puget Sound Starts Here is supported by a consortium of more than 750 organizations across Puget Sound’s 12 counties, including state agencies, local governments, tribes, and non-governmental organizations working to clean up and protect Puget Sound and our region’s local waterways.
Learn more about Puget Sound and how you can help protect it at www.PugetSoundStartsHere.org.