Everyone who lives near Puget Sound has an affinity for it; it’s such a vital, beautiful body of water that it’s hard to imagine it could be in trouble. So when EnviroIssues joined a team in 2008 to support the first Puget Sound Partnership Action Agenda, we knew that our communication tools would have to stress the fragile and vulnerable nature of the estuary – messages that would rally the public to understand the urgency of protecting the Sound.
EnviroIssues developed communication materials that translated data and policy into an agenda that educated the public on the need for action; assisted policymakers and stakeholders with developing a realistic, achievable plan; and engaged citizens across the region in a conversation about how we can protect the health of our vital bay.
We also developed and implemented the public outreach plan, developing the necessary messages and tools to invite comment on the future of the Sound. Working with our partner ESA and Partnership staff, EnviroIssues created and managed online databases that supported a robust public outreach effort. The databases tracked budget information and program inventories, and also made organizing and tracking the over 1,500 pages of public comments manageable. The comment response process was rapid-fire, categorizing documents quickly so they could be incorporated into the eventual plan.
As the deadline for the Action Agenda neared, the team supported the Partnership with writing and editing the document, and after its release, EnviroIssues supported the team in making the changes necessary to gain an important designation for the Puget Sound – an estuary of national significance. (We knew that already, but the National Estuary Program took a little convincing.)