Sound Status Update – March Newsletter

March 1, 2021

A message from Team CHB on the recent and ongoing acts of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

We are saddened, ashamed, and enraged at the acts of violence white people have perpetrated against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). None of us were here when this system of white supremacy and hypermasculinity was built, but it is the responsibility of each of us to address it. This country has a long history of anti-Asian sentiment and fetishization of Asian women, and we must also recognize violence has escalated due to the dog whistles used by elected leaders across the nation.

Our fight against the climate crisis and environmental racism will not be won until we destroy white supremacy. Join us in learning more about racism and violence targeted at AAPI, as well as how to be an effective ally and advocate. 

Citizens for a Healthy Bay and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Announce Suit Over Pollution from Electron Dam

On March 9, 2021, Citizens for a Healthy Bay and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance filed a lawsuit against the operators of the Electron Dam to enforce the federal Clean Water Act against energy company Electron Hydro LLC, the owner and operator of the Electron Dam on the Puyallup River. The action focuses on water pollution from the dam and related construction and maintenance operations.

In summer 2020, Electron placed old artificial field turf into the river during a construction project in the dam’s spillway. In late July 2020, a large amount of plastic and rubber debris associated with the turf broke free and washed down stream.

On October 28, 2020, CHB and PSK sent a Notice of Intent to Sue Electron over the discharges of field turf and plastic liner and for related pollution violations. After CHB and PSK sent their notice letter to Electron Hydro, the US Department of Justice filed an enforcement action against Electron. With our filing earlier this month, CHB and PSK have announced their intentions to join the DOJ in enforcing the Clean Water Act against the owners and operators of the Electron Dam.

Read our full press release and legal complaint here.

Next Steps for Land Use Rules in the Tacoma Tideflats

The City of Tacoma Planning Commission will be issuing their final draft recommendation for non-interim regulations on Wednesday April 7th. Currently they have recommended a blanket prohibition on mining, quarrying, and smelting, alongside coal storage and export within the City limits. They have also recommended a prohibition on all new high-risk fossil fuel facilities that can store over a million gallons. Further, the recommendations include a prohibition on capacity-enhancing improvements at existing high-risk fossil fuel facilities, like newer or bigger storage tanks, for example. Once the recommendations are voted on by the Planning Commission, Tacoma City Council will review and vote on them sometime in late April or early May.

Be among the first get Tideflats updates – join our Arising Issues listserv

And in the mean time, you can share your vision for the future of the Tideflats by taking this survey! The Tideflats Subarea Plan Project Team is asking for community input that will be used to inform planning decisions made in the Tideflats industrial area. The survey will be open through Friday April 30th.

Cheers to a Healthy Bay Kicks Off Friday May 21st!

With less than two months to go, we hope that you will join us this May for CHB’s 20th Cheers to a Healthy Bay annual benefit auction. This year’s virtual auction includes several vacation packages, local staycations, outdoor adventures, boat excursions and local art! Our virtual auction is open to anyone and there is no fee to explore the auction website. We are busy working on the website and finishing up procuring donations so please stay tuned for more details soon!

Our Cheers to a Healthy Bay benefit auction is our largest fundraising event of the year and funds from this event help to support costs to clean up pollution from Commencement Bay and hold polluters accountablefight the expansion of industries that worsen climate change, provide program support for our Environmental Justice Camp for Girls, organize beach clean ups, and engage local, state and federal governments on environmental policy and practices that effect the health and safety of our communities.

We are excited to be able to connect, protect, and celebrate our waters with our community online, and we appreciate you standing with us in our mission to achieve a cleaner future for all.

Interested in donating an item or becoming a sponsor? Contact CHB’s Development Director Katy Stone at or (253) 383-2429 Ext. 4

Thank You to our Current Auction Sponsors

Puyallup Tribe of Indians
Financial Insights – Tides Tavern – Schnitzer Steel – Wildlife Forever Fund
Patagonia – University of Puget Sound – Dependable IT Support – Floyd Snider
Lancer Hospitality – The Pacific Northwest Shop

Tales from Bay Patrol

Compared to the last few months, our Bay Patrols in March were relatively… boring. No new shipwrecks, no vessels on fire, and no barges endangering sensitive eelgrass beds! Nothing but a little love and hard work!

One of the goals for our Bay Patrol program is to have a consistent presence in Commencement Bay, and to monitor all of Tacoma’s 13 miles of shoreline – this includes the Foss, Middle, Sitcum, Blair, and Hylebos Waterways, as well as the area along Marine View Drive to Browns Point, along Ruston Way to Point Defiance, and through the Tacoma Narrows. This month we patrolled each waterway at least twice for a total of ten patrols this month, and 24 for the year so far.

As for a little love on the water – on Saturday, March 20th, CHB had the privilege of taking part in the union of Jenna and Andy. Retreating to the calmer waters around Owen Beach, Jenna and Andy who both have a love for marine waters and wildlife, tied the ‘naut’ aboard our Bay Patrol vessel. If this is something you and your partner are interested in, this experience will be on of the many amazing items you can bid on at our Cheers to a Healthy Bay virtual auction, coming up May 21st through May 29th!

CHB has been partnering with the City of Tacoma to update their Environmental Action Plan with a renewed focus on climate action and environmental justice. This process has multiple phases, and we can now share with you the full results of Phase I of community engagement.

Over 450 community members shared their thoughts through surveys, visioning activities, and interviews. We disaggregated data to see what priorities were mentioned more frequently by people of color (POC), youth, or low-income respondents in comparison to the other demographic groups to ensure frontline communities priorities were being heard. Access to urban green spaces was mentioned more frequently by POC, youth respondents prioritized the need for a healthy ecosystem, and low-income respondents mentioned housing access more than other groups. Other top sustainability priorities include high-functioning public transportation, resource management, and renewable energy.

Respondents also identified potential barriers to sustainability. The most frequently mentioned barrier by all demographic groups, and of particular concern to youth respondents, was a lack of support and leadership from the government and the influence of special interest groups. Low-income and POC respondents were particularly concerned about the community’s lack of essential services and basic needs as a barrier to action. A lack of cultural values and social norms that promote sustainability and a lack of incentives for businesses to take responsibility for their impact were also top mentioned barriers.

Read the Climate Action Planning Report for full details on the purpose, methods and results of Phase I. Phase II of community engagement will begin in May with a series of workshops where community members will dive deeper into current greenhouse gas emissions and possible climate actions. Stay tuned for workshop dates and other ways you can get involved!