Sound Status Update – July Newsletter

July 1, 2021

Protect our Waters: July 10th Volunteer Event

Want to help do your part to reduce the stormwater runoff that pollutes Commencement Bay? There are two ways you can help!

Join us in marking storm drains with these “No Dumping: Drains to Puget Sound” signs to remind our neighbors that nothing but rain should go down the drain!

Use this form to sign up for our July 10th work party *or* to let us know you’d like to go out on your own time to mark storm drains. 

Summer is the best time to improve our storm drain infrastructure because the weather is great, so join team CHB in helping to protect these waters. Making sure storm drains are marked can keep dangerous pollutants like paint and oil out of Commencement Bay, protecting the fish and critters that call this area ‘home.’

Want to learn more about what’s involved in marking storm drains? Check out our toolkit!

City Council Committee Considers Tideflats Rules

The proposed Tideflats Non-Interim Regulations are going through another round of review, this time by the Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability (IPS) Committee of City Council. As part of this review process, Citizens for a Healthy Bay was invited to speak on a panel about our recommendations for better protections from polluting, high-risk industry in the Tideflats. You can listen to the audio of the panel discussion and view the presentations here. Representatives from the oil and gas industry were also invited to speak, and their panel discussion can be observed here.

Our message is consistent: in order to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis, including worsening health disparities and job loss, we must begin the just transition away from fossil fuels and towards a Tideflats economy centered on community health and forward-looking investments like low carbon fuel production.

The next IPS Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday July 21, starting at 4:30, via Zoom (Zoom information for this meeting is not yet available, but will be posted here). The Committee will be discussing Conditional Use Permits versus Standard Permitting – meaning how should certain uses be permitted and what conditions should be placed on them to operate in our city? You can view the Committee calendar for upcoming meetings here.

Judge Says Electron Dam Cannot Operate Without Permits

Thanks to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, a federal judge has ordered that Electron Dam cannot operate until they have the permits required under the Endangered Species Act – because the evidence is clear that Electron Dam kills fished listed under the Act, including Chinook salmon, Steelhead trout, and bull trout. We stand with the Tribe in celebration of this victory, and continue our work in holding Electron Dam accountable for their egregious water quality violations.


Chief Leschi School Goes on Bay Patrol

This month we had special guests Elsie Mitchell and Nancy Nelson from Chief Leschi Schools join us on one of our Bay Patrols. Elsie Mitchell is the Science and Engineering Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher and was recently recognized as the 2B Pacific Coach of the Year. Nancy Nelson is a CTE and the Instructional Technology Administrator as well as a Common Sense Ambassador, an exclusive and innovative group of educators that focus on using effective technology to aid classroom learning. Together, we set out to patrol along the Hylebos Waterway, visiting the sites owned by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians along the way.

From small pieces of styrofoam, to reusable grocery bags, and wandering boat fenders, these two ladies were getting after it! By the end of our Bay Patrol, we had collected over 10 pounds of floating debris in just one waterway. Watching the determination of these teachers capturing debris and talking plans for the future of their classrooms and students was inspiring and we hope to join them and their students out on the water this fall. After their well-earned vacation of course!


There are a LOT of great tide pooling days coming up in July. Tide pooling is a great way to spend time outside with friends and family while learning about creatures that inhabit the Puget Sound. Tides of -2 feet and lower are ideal for seeing octopuses, colorful sea slugs, nudibranchs and more! Read more tidepooling tips for the Tacoma area here!