About suzannastoike

"I love you," I whispered into the ear of the ocean. "Ever since I've known you, I've loved you. I must see all of your marvels, know all of your beauty..." And the ocean listened, and snuggled still closer to me. - Hans Haas, Diving to Adventure

PCC, WCGA, WGA oh my!

Navigating the world of regional ocean management along the West Coast is complicated and one often becomes lost in a bit of acronym riddled alphabet soup. Regional efforts to protect and sustain vital ocean and coastal resources have resulted in the formation of several groups, each tasked with different yet somewhat overlapping priorities and issues. After all, it’s a big ocean, it’s a big geography to deal with, and it’s a tangle of geopolitical boundaries and jurisdictions.

This post is something like the “yellow-brick road” of the West Coast Land of Acronyms. I’m interested in three Governor level groups: the Pacific Coast Collaborative, the West Coast Governors Alliance, and the Western Governors‘ Association. What are these groups? What are they working on, and how do they connect?

 

 

 

Western Governors’ Association:

Established in 1984, the Western Governors’ Association is an independent, non-partisan organization of Governors from 19 Western states, two Pacific-flag territories and one commonwealth. The Association was formed to provide strong multi-state leadership in an era of critical change in the economy and demography of the West. The Western Governors recognize that many vital issues and opportunities shaping our future cross state lines and are shared throughout the West.

 

 

 

The Pacific Coast Collaborative:

On June 30, 2008, the leaders of the five jurisdictions signed the Pacific Coast Collaborative Agreement, the first agreement that brings together the Pacific leaders as a common front to set a cooperative direction into the Pacific Century.  Out of this agreement was born the Pacific Coast Collaborative — a formal basis for cooperative action, a forum for leadership and information sharing, and a common voice on issues facing Pacific North America. The Collaborative includes the three west coast states, Alaska, and British Columbia.

 

 

 

West Coast Governors Alliance:

On September 18, 2006 the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington, signed the West Coast GovernorsAgreement on Ocean Health. The Agreement, now called an Alliance, launched a new, proactive regional collaboration to protect and manage the ocean and coastal resources along the entire West Coast, as called for in the recommendations of the U.S. Commissionon on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission.

I’ll start with what I know best. I work for the West Coast Governors Alliance (WCGA). The WCGA completed an Action Plan in 2008 that consists of 26 action items achieve a vision for the health of West Coast  coastal and ocean resources, including clean coastal waters and economically and environmentally sustainable coastal communities.

The WCGA isn’t the only group working on ocean health initiatives in the region, however, and with a changing reality for funding and capacity, distinguishing these groups and their efforts has become a priority for those involved to ensure that priorities are met without redundancies and with appropriate coordination.

I asked Keith Phillips from Governor Gregoire’s office in Washington to help explain the differences.

State and provincial leaders have a strong interest in doing things jointly, to leverage their resources, strengthen their messages, and get better results. Groups like the PCC and WGA allow States (and BC) to come together on priority issues because the interests they have in common – and the many issues that don’t just change at the border. These groups deal with a diversity of issues – often the most important issues of the time.”

The WGA represents a much broader geography than the PCC and WCGA, which makes it more difficult to find topics that all 22 states agree on. Generally, the WGA’s mission is to address important policy and governance issues in the West, advance the role of the Western states in the federal system, and serve as a center for shared solutions to regional problems. It has brought attention to issues like regional consistency with the Endangered Species Act, and wildfire suppression and forest health.  In reality, the WGA currently deals very little with ocean health issues, and more with the terrestrial landscape that aligns with the majority of its membership.

When we look at the highlights of the PCC, it is clear the organization addresses a wide range of topics. Because the PCC is meant to serve as a platform for the States rather than for a particular issue, there is little connection between priorities, which range from low carbon energy, to research and innovation, to emergency management. Ocean conservation and climate change are listed as ongoing priorities as well. Under these ocean and climate topic areas the PCC lists actions like the WCGA’s commissioning of the National Academy of Sciences Sea Level Rise study and several state-specific pieces of legislation that reduce emissions, promote green jobs, and encourage development of adaptation strategies for sea level rise. The “work” of the PCC is done by and through the implementing agencies and their partners, using existing groups where possible.

It’s a little easier to find common ground with the PCC which represents four states and BC. This smaller group shares what some call the “Cascadia perspective”; where economies and environmental issues are more closely aligned than in other western states and provinces.

With both groups however, any issue surfacing regionally can be brought to the table. Broader issues that impact more than just the west coast may be brought through the WGA, whereas issues specific to coastal states (i.e. tsunami debris or ocean acidification) would be introduced through groups like the PCC or the WCGA.

Governors get together on issues of interest. Sometimes the entire Collaborative or Association agree – sometimes not, which leads to smaller groups breaking off to adopt a resolution or agreement.

“It doesn’t matter what box they go in – each group serves as a forum for discussion and support” Phillips says.

So where does the WCGA fit in?

Structurally, the WGA and PCC are more “political” than the WCGA, and can adapt and move on hot issues as they arise more easily than the WCGA. Dealing with Japanese tsunami debris is a good example. This sudden event created an immediate need for response, and the higher level structure of the PCC versus the on-the-ground work plan based structure of the WCGA makes the PCC more nimble, albeit less “tangible” in ways. The WCGA is structured with an Executive Committee and actions are carried out by Action Coordination Teams. Work plans are developed and executed on around a four year timeline (there has not been an update to the Action plan since 2008). The PCC works more towards adopting resolutions, promoting issues through state-specific actions, and elevating conversations to a larger regional scale than the WCGA. The WCGA works towards more tangible outcomes, like the eradication of Spartina along the West coast, which is a long term initiative requiring on-the-ground actions to complete the goal.

Additionally, only a section of the PCC’s highlighted priorities deal with ocean issues, while the WCGA focuses exclusively on ocean health. The depth and detail of issues related to ocean health is articulated in the WCGA Action plan – a much “higher level” vision is provided by the PCC.

It’s important to note that no group supersedes the other: they work together to ensure that important issues for western states get the attention they deserve. Both groups highlight the power of partnerships and the commitment to healthy oceans and coastal communities by the region’s governments.

“Just because two different leadership groups raise the same issue, that doesn’t mean there is some problem with overlapping jurisdictions, rather it means the issue is getting broader attention.  This works well as long as the work is done efficiently, and we don’t duplicate efforts.” Keith explains.

One thing is clear: there is no shortage of good work being done on the west coast to protect and sustain our oceans and coastal resources.

 

 

References:

http://www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org/Pages/Welcome.aspx

http://www.westcoastoceans.org/

 

King Tides on the West Coast

Most people these days know about the effects of climate change. Every day the news reports about the change in weather patterns, the increase of extreme events, changes in snowpack, the retreat of glaciers. The list goes on and on. For the half of the US population that lives on the coast, we hear about sea level rise and coastal inundation and what we might expect for the future.

Still, does the average coastal resident really understand how rising sea levels and coastal inundation will impact them?

(Left) A sidewalk is lost to this King Tide near Rotary Park, Olympia WA. Photo by TallJoyClan, (Right) Water creeps up to mid-sign during a high tide event in La Conner WA. Photo by ConwaySuz

Washington, Oregon, and California are taking proactive steps to make sure that coastal residents, planners, and decision makers alike have the chance to see what sea level rise might look like in their own backyards. It’s called the King Tides Initiative, and every winter brings the opportunity to visualize what a rise in sea level might mean for communities and infrastructure along the West Coast.

The concept began in 2009 in Australia by Phil Watson, the Principle Coastal Specialist of

Park in San Francisco during a large king tide event. Photo by sirgious.

the New South Wales’ Environment Department. They used the term “king tide” to define the high tides that occur when the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon is in alignment. Green Cross Australia continues this initiative, and recently launched a disaster resilience portal Queensland that connects climate awareness with disaster preparedness, working with the research community and advanced Facebook apps to empower people to take tailored steps to address hazard exposure.

These king tides, which take place during the winter along the West Coast, create higher than usual high tides that inundate roads, wetlands, water systems, and more. It’s a stunning preview of what we might experience regularly in the future as a result of rising sea levels.

Seawater almost spilling over this seawall at Alki Beach WA. Photo by dcsdiving.

West Coast states created their own King Tides Initiatives, with regional and local public outreach and education campaigns that ask coastal residents and visitors to photograph high tide events and share them on the photo sharing site Flickr®. By documenting and sharing photos, participants are helping create a living record of vulnerable areas of the coast. Because most photos are licensed under creative commons, they can be accessed and used by anyone. This makes king tide photos a resource for anyone, from teachers to planners to scientists, to communicate the impacts of climate change in a tangible way.

To learn more about the King Tides Initiative in California, I spoke with Marina Psaros, the Coastal Training Program Coordinator for the San Francisco Bay National Estuary Research Reserve.

What has been the biggest impact you’ve seen from the California King Tides campaign?

The king tides initiative is such a simple, powerful way to start a conversation about coastal hazards.  We’ve been able to reach a lot of people who don’t know much about coastal flooding and potential climate change impacts.  We recently held an exhibition of some of the photos at the California Academy of Sciences, and it was amazing to see

Home is inundated in Cairns North Queensland. Photo by Witness King Tides.

people’s immediate, visceral reactions to the images.  Concepts like “tidal inundation” and “sea level rise” are really abstract for most people, but a picture of water slamming up against a well-known landmark is immediately clear.

How can these pictures help us prepare for the future?

These images help engage people on the coast in a conversation about climate change and sea level rise. By participating in king tide events, coastal residents are helping to create a living record of areas that are vulnerable to flooding, and an online resource that can be used by anyone to communicate about coastal hazards. Creating new awareness through social media and other outreach, like the California Academy of Sciences photo exhibition, encourages people to think more proactively about the future of their communities. It also helps decision-makers visualize the impacts sea level rise could have on places where we live, work, and play. 

Can anyone get involved with King Tides?

This hotel on the beach in Yamba New South Wales is lost to a king tide. Photo by Witness King Tides.

 If you have a camera and can get to the coast, yes! Just check your state’s website for king tide events in your area, head out to the coast to take pictures of the king tides, and upload your images to Flickr®. While you’re on the Flickr® site, be sure to check out the rest of the photo pool.  We also encourage people to use these amazing pictures for their own communications – the images are available under a creative commons license. You can also get more information on the initiative through this recent Thank you Ocean podcast: http://www.thankyouocean.org/tag/king-tides/.

NOAA tides gauges and NASA satellites have been recording a global rise in sea level for 150 years.  This rise is linked to a number of atmospheric and oceanic processes; including changes in global temperatures, hydrologic cycles, coverage of glaciers and ice sheets, and storm frequency and intensity. Although high tides are a naturally occurring event, it’s a preview of water levels that climate models show might be a new “normal” in 100 years.

This biker makes his way around the seawater in Mill Valley near Stinson Beach CA. Photo by Yanna B.

The motivation to start talking about hazard mitigation and adaptation is king tide photos of washed out roads, flooded homes, and shrinking beaches. We’ve got a lot to prepare for. Perhaps king tides are nature’s way of giving us a head start.

If you want to be part of the King Tides campaign in your state or province, please visit the following websites to see the schedule of tide events:

Washington King Tides (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/ipa_hightide.htm)

Oregon King Tides (http://www.climateadaptationplanning.net/kingtides/)

California King Tides (http://californiakingtides.org/)

British Columbia King Tides (http://www.livesmartbc.ca/connect/kingtidephotos/)

Australia King Tides (http://www.greencrossaustralia.org/our-work/witness-king-tides-a-community-photography-project.aspx)

Tsawalk and the Salish Sea

When I crossed the border into Canada on my drive to the Salish Sea Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia this past week, I got the “Q and A” by the border guard. “Where’s home? Where do you work?” I was friendly, concise and truthful. But when asked what I would be doing in Canada, I lost my cool, and enthusiastically stated, “Saving the whales!!” I got a smile and a green light. OK, not exactly true, but it seemed a good enough reason to let me spend a week in BC.

Crossing the Granville Bridge into this land of lights made me appreciate the accomplishments of the modern world. The stark mountains in the background, equaled by the skyscrapers towering in front of me, were a subtle reminder of the power of innovation and invention. It was also a reminder why I made this trip.

Granville Street Bridge

Granville Street Bridge, Nighttime Photo by Robert D. Brooks

The waters of the Salish Sea are surrounded by a highly developed landscape. Westerners, like so many cultures around the world, find ourselves inextricably connected to the water, and here we build our villages. Or, should I say, major metropolitan areas. Here in Vancouver, the interface of the modern world with the natural one isn’t lost to the madness of the city. The sea seems to shape the traffic, the infrastructure, the economy, and the culture of the area. The Straight of Georgia winds around Vancouver Island and surrounding geography like a smooth piece of velvet, buffering the noise and the commotion of the city with stillness and calm. After a closer look by the scientific community, we get a clearer picture of the problems facing these shared waters.

The Salish Sea, showing the Strait of Georgia near center, the Strait of Juan de Fuca below, Puget Sound at the lower right, Johnstone Strait at the extreme upper left, and the Pacific Ocean at lower left. Photo from Google Earth.

I learned the Salish Sea Conference used to be a science conference; a place where academics and researchers rolled out their results for other scientists and researchers to mull over, discuss methodologies, and gain ideas for their own work. I imagine the evolution into a science, policy, and management conference came about relatively quickly. What’s happening in the Salish Sea sounds alarming at best. Polluted air and water, sick and dying fish and whales, decreased habitat and spawning areas, increased marine traffic, sound pollution, invasive species, and altered eco-webs. Then, add the global threat of climate change and a world population that just hit 7 billion, and we’ve got issues. Getting back to a healthy Salish Sea ecosystem demands action, which requires those with authority to be informed. This was a message carried by the opening plenary panelists; three mayors and a commissioner from the major metropolitan cities along the coast of the Salish Sea. They need good science, and they need it now.

Whale tail, Photo by Alan Lovewell

Echoed again in the closing plenary was the plea for scientists to carry their message of an ecosystem in crisis. “We don’t know what we don’t know” a panelist said. Simply communication of knowledge, regardless of uncertainty, brings us leaps closer to effecting positive change on a large scale. Scientists were encouraged – implored, even, to have those conversations, incite those conversations, and speak until they are heard. It seems we have no choice but to make change now. As Billy Frank Jr., Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist from the Salish region, said at conference past, “We need to all get in this canoe together. We need to start paddling in the opposite direction. And we need to paddle hard.”

Coastal Salish Plenary Panel "Working Together for the Salish Sea", photo by Erica Olson, 2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Volunteer

If nothing else, there was one message that stirred and inspired me: the idea of “tsawalk”; a Nuu-chah-nulth tribe worldview that “everything is one.” This message was threaded through several of the talks I attended.  When delivered by some of the First Nation tribes, the message became tangible and visceral: You could feel the weight of gratitude fill the room. It brought every one of us to our most basic selves. We all became simply human; fighting a battle we’ve created; fighting for our humanity with a unified understanding that without every cog and wheel, we are lost.

Ambleside Beach, by Lion’s Gate Bridge, photo by Hugh Shipman (gravelbeach.blogspot.com)

Japanese Tsunami – The Global Aftermath

The 9.0 earthquake centered 80 miles off of the Japanese coast was felt by the whole world, not physically, necessarily, but through our kinship as a global community. We were rattled to see such devastation on our computer and television screens, and West Coasters went to the shorelines to watch the ocean ebb and surge as the tsunami reached our coast. For some port towns, it came with fury, jostling boats and tearing up harbors, causing one fatality and millions in damage. For others towns, like Port Orford, OR, it was captivating to see tides in fast-forward, but it was an unsettling reminder that the Cascadia fault line that stretches from northern Vancouver Island to northern California is about 80 years overdue. Next time, it might be all of us.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone (Credit: California Emergency Management Agency)

The Cascadia Subduction Zone (Credit: California Emergency Management Agency)

Today, almost six months after the Honshu quake, Japan is still reeling. The world has offered its hand in humanitarian efforts, as well as in scientific expertise for the subsequent nuclear crisis. People struggle to rebuild and survive. Food, water and electricity remain in short supply.

What became abundant? Debris. Of all shapes and sizes, from household items, to cars, to whole buildings. When the water receded, anything suspended went along with it back into the Pacific Ocean. This means, in no uncertain terms, that remnants of Japan are headed our way.

 NOAA has run a model using OSCURS (Ocean Surface Current Simulator) showing the flow of debris from Japan. (Courtesy of J. Churnside) (Credit: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/japanfaqs.html#1, 8/31/2011)

NOAA has run a model using OSCURS (Ocean Surface Current Simulator) showing the flow of debris from Japan. (Courtesy of J. Churnside) (Credit: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/japanfaqs.html#1, 8/31/2011)

This brings one question to mind, and that’s “Are we ready?” First, are we ready to act when, or if, this massive amount of debris hits our coastline? Do we have any sense of the magnitude or high-probability areas? Could any of that debris be radioactive?

Most scientists think we have some time before any debris hits. However, there is no clear answer how the North Pacific Gyre will speed up or slow down that movement. In the time it takes to cross the big blue, and the mismatched timing of the Fukushima incident with the recession of the water, NOAA and others consider it “highly unlikely” that Hawaii or the West Coast will have to deal with radioactivity. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for monitoring radioactivity.

 Graphic from the International Pacific Research Center. This graphic shows the predicted movement of the debris field. The first bits of debris are expected in a year. (Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1374520/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-debris-floating-US-West-Coast.html?ito=feeds-newsxml, 8/31/2011)

Graphic from the International Pacific Research Center. This graphic shows the predicted movement of the debris field. (Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1374520/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-debris-floating-US-West-Coast.html?ito=feeds-newsxml, 8/31/2011)

The general consensus is that most of the debris will reach the West Coast in about two years, with debris protruding from the water (e.g. fishing vessels) likely to turn up first because of exposure to the prevailing winds. Other debris may remain in the depths of the Pacific never to be seen by most of us again. To date, I’ve really enjoyed picking up beach treasures from Japan (glass floats and interesting bottles), but I’m not sure I’d be so thrilled coming across remnants of cars or houses.

While some of us have the opportunity to go to Japan and help in the rebuilding efforts, others can do the world a favor by taking part in the clean up on this side of the Pacific.  Whether this means signing up for the SOLV Beach clean up every year, participating in events like the California Coastal Cleanup Day and Washington Coast Cleanup, or just bringing garbage bags with you to the beach, we can all do something.

NOAA Center for tsunami research (Credit: http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311/ 8/31/2011) NOAA Center for tsunami research (Credit: http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311/ 8/31/2011)

West Coast-wide organizations, such as the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health (WCGA), addressed marine debris in the 2008 Action Plan. Action 1.4 notes that the three states will establish baseline estimates of marine debris off the West Coast, and support policies to meet reduction goals through recycling, trash maintenance, and litter laws. Members of the Marine Debris Action Coordination Team and the forming Marine Debris Alliance, with folks at EPA Region 9, the U.S. Coast Guard and others, are on regular calls trying to track this debris plume and figure out the “when, where, and how much.” There is a lot of uncertainty, but also a lot going into getting prepared. This includes a NOAA initiative called “Ships of Opportunity” program, which hires non-research vessels traveling in that direction to search for the head of the debris plume. The thought is if they can deploy buoy sensors at the head of the plume, scientists will be able to track the progress of the debris to the West Coast. Who knows? This may be another happenstance opportunity to learn more about Pacific Ocean currents.

Will we be ready when it’s our shoreline that’s quaking? I know there are a lot of communities starting to think along the lines of tsunami preparedness, but what about our families and friends? I have no disaster plan. I have no kit. Do you?  Granted, not everyone is in imminent danger of a tsunami, but the damage from an earthquake means long-term threats for everyone’s way of life. I’m not advocating that everyone run to the store for their dehydrated food kit, or build a survival shelter in their backyard, but I know that I could benefit from knowing a little more and taking some steps to prepare.

I guess the bottom line for me is, let’s learn from this. Let’s keep our Pacific neighbors in our hearts and minds. Let’s get ready, in every way possible, to prepare for the aftermath of the damage already done, and prepare for events to come. I think we can all agree that it’s only a matter of time.

House bobbing in the Pacific off Japan (Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1374520/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-debris-floating-US-West-Coast.html?ito=feeds-newsxml; 8/31/2011)

House bobbing in the Pacific off Japan (Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1374520/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-debris-floating-US-West-Coast.html?ito=feeds-newsxml; 8/31/2011)

Rendezvous in the Emerald City: Invigorating the Agreement

It always amazes me how much can be accomplished by people that have never met face-to-face. Dedicated individuals from Oregon, Washington, and California involved with the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health have been making strides for this regional ocean partnership via conference calls and email for the better part of 5 years. This past June, for the first time in 3 years, the WCGA executive committee (Excomm) members and the leads for the WCGA’s Action Coordination Teams (ACT) all met in the flesh to take the pulse of the WCGA and discuss the future of regional ocean governance. For me, a WCGA Sea Grant fellow just 3 months into my 2 year stint, greeting attendees felt like a human game of Memory; matching faces to voices that I’d only known through phone calls.

A little background on the WCGA: The WCGA is the regional ocean partnership for the West Coast, formed on September 18, 2006 by the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington. Upon signing, then Governors Schwarzenegger, Gregoire, and Kulongoski launched a new, proactive regional collaboration to protect and manage the ocean and coastal resources along the entire West Coast, as called for in the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission. The WCGA seeks to advance the goals of:

  • Clean coastal waters and beaches
  • Healthy ocean and coastal habitats
  • Effective ecosystem-based management
  • Reduced impacts of offshore development
  • Increased ocean awareness and literacy among the region’s citizens
  • Expanded ocean and coastal scientific information, research, and monitoring
  • Sustainable economic development of coastal communities

A seascape of Mill Rocks with Humbug Mountain in the distance (Photo: Stoike)

This meeting allowed the WCGA to look ahead into FY ’12, review the 2008 Action Plan, and build a strategy for near term actions. Of particular interest to me was the WCGA’s sincere commitment to improving communication with the Action Coordination Teams; a commitment validated by this face-to-face interaction between ExComm and ACTs. From my perspective, these ten teams, designed to put the Action Plan into…well, action, serve a critical role in the success of the WCGA as a whole. Their expertise and commitment breathe life and valuable perspective into the WCGA and give it the legs to run.

A good portion of the meeting was dedicated to discussing how the WCGA would implement coastal and marine spatial planning, a significant priority of the federal government outlined in the National Ocean Policy Objective 2 (comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States). In order to inform this discussion, the WCGA invited Micah McCarty, a Tribal Council Member from Makah Tribal Nation, and Jacque Hostler, Chief Executive Officer of the Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria, to share their perspectives with state and federal representatives as well as ACT members. Both Micah and Jacque are highly engaged on the National level as members of the National Ocean Council’s Governance Coordinating Committee. Donald McIsaac, Executive Director, and Dorothy Lowman, Executive Specialist from the Pacific Fishery Management Council attended as guests and shared the Council’s views on the proposed CMSP regional planning bodies (RPB). As the National Ocean Council moves forward with CMSP, the WCGA agreed to take some proactive steps in developing a regional data portal for the West Coast, similar to the data portal created in the Northeast. They came up with some recommendations regarding CMSP that I believe are important to acknowledge. The WCGA will:

    • Support CMSP as a tool to protect and manage coastal and ocean resources;
    • Collaborate with all federal agencies, tribes, and affected groups and stakeholders to address West Coast ocean and coastal health issues;
    • Maintain a strong role in assisting the federal government to create and execute the West Coast Regional Planning Body (RPB)
    • Acknowledge that ACTs were formed to focus on implementing policy changes and best management practices, and that their capacity is limited to staff RPB and CMSP planning and information gathering processes.

A sustainable coastal community includes vibrant working waterfronts and access to the resource (Photo: Stoike)

The Executive Committee made a series of recommendations to share with its respective governor’s offices in California, Oregon, and Washington. These include reaffirming the current structure of the WCGA— it’s currently a governors’ partnership, with invited federal agencies, and new administrations in CA and OR make this a logical and necessary action. The WCGA committed to engaging and coordinating with interested tribal governments. Finally, the current financial climate made it clear that streamlining and prioritizing the 2008 WCGA Action Plan to better align actions with existing and potential resources will help ensure the WCGA is doing the best it can to meet its goals.

These new efforts will be part of the update to their 2008 Action Plan scheduled for release in 2013.

President Barack Obama is updated on the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, during a meeting in the tarmac field house at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, La., June 4, 2010. (Photo: Pete Souz)