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Sustainability ‘report card’ not all sunny

[To view graphic, click here rather than on above image]

Did you know that there is a Sustainable Thurston Report Card? Yup, it’s produced by the Thurston Regional Planning Council. If you drill down you can find a lot of wonky background information, but the top layers are “user friendly.”

For example, click on “Environment” and you’ll see that four our of six featured measures have either a sun icon or a sun partly hidden by two clouds. That means the outlook for the listed goals is either “Sunny, future looks bright” or “Partly sunny, uncertain future.”

Two goals have rain clouds, which signify “Stormy, concerns for the future.” One is “Protecting and improving water quality” and the other is “Increase salmon runs on the Deschutes River.” The above-shown graph illustrates how salmon runs have severely declined since the late-80s. Interestingly, an improvement target “has not been identified.” However, click on “More information” and you’ll find a Department of Ecology report that discusses a Deschutes River Watershed Area Water Quality Improvement Project.

Unfortunately, they didn’t list the acronym, DRWAWQIP, which would have been fun for the whole family. Thus, we perform that public service completely free of charge (although donations are kindly accepted here).

Click on “Evaluation” and you will find out why increasing salmon runs on the Deschutes is important: “Coho salmon are important indicators of the overall health of the Deschutes River, and an important cultural and economic asset of Thurston County.”

They also list steps that could be taken to increase salmon production, including: “Restoring key habitat to increase shading and lower stream temperatures.”

What they don’t mention is restoring the Deschutes estuary by removing the dam at the river’s mouth. Is that considered too “political?”


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