Dear EA network,

In lieu of our full monthly newsletter, we are sharing a selection of recent conservation stories and announcements that caught our attention. Next month, our newsletter will include an update of the Emerald Alliance’s programmatic efforts, including how we are working to advance equity and inclusion among our conservation partners, innovations in conservation finance, and enhancements to our communications initiatives.

As we move into the Holiday season, we are grateful for your support of the Emerald Alliance’s vision and shared commitment to cultivating a stronger, more diverse, and collaborative conservation movement across Puget Sound.
- The EA Team

REI’s New Equity Fund:

In October, REI announced a new DEI-focused “REI Cooperative Action Fund” that will support “nonprofit organizations promoting justice, equity and belonging in the outdoors,” with a focus on three specific initiatives: connecting more people outside, creating more space outside, and centering health outside. The fund is launching in 2021 with $1 million to support 19 nonprofits and will eventually grow to replace the REI Foundation and its $6 million of funding.

PSP’s 2021 State of the Sound Report:

The Puget Sound Partnership released a new 2021 State of the Sound report that tracks the health of the Puget Sound and its impact on humans and wildlife through six ecosystem recovery goals: healthy water quality, abundant water quality, protected & restored habitat, thriving species & food web, vibrant quality of life, and healthy human population. Each of these goals contain a handful of “vital signs” that are measured over time. This year, about half are either not improving or getting worse, just five out of 52 vital signs were near or at the 2020 target, and only 11 are getting better (see this Bellingham Herald article for more). Climate change is cited as one of the most impactful and urgent issues impacting the health of the Sound, and that Washington and the rest of the world must redouble their efforts or else risk the Sound’s continued deterioration.

New Studies in Urban Forestry:

The City of Tacoma released a new Tacoma Community Forestry Map that explores the intersection of trees, equity, and human health. The map was developed in order to help determine where tree planting and preservation can make the greatest impact, specifically from an environmental justice perspective. This DNR article contains more resources for Tacoma community members to get involved in local urban forestry initiatives.  

Also, a first-of-its-kind nationwide Economics of Urban Forestry study from the Arbor Day Foundation, Forest Service, and University of Nebraska evaluated the “economic footprint” or urban forests. The study reveals that in Washington state, urban trees contribute to $2.9 billion in total quality of life and environmental benefits each year, including carbon sequestration, air pollution removal, and avoided stormwater runoff. In addition, it was found that 14,587 people are employed as a result of urban forestry activities in Washington (source: DNR).

Snohomish County’s Salmon Safe Pledge:

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers has taken the Salmon Safe pledge, which seeks commitments from municipalities to protect water quality and wildlife habitat in tributaries across Puget Sound. Somers said, “By taking the Salmon Safe Puget Sound Pledge, Snohomish County recommits to continue improving the water quality of the Salish Sea and protecting the economic and natural resources on which our quality of life depends." Snohomish County is also directing an additional $5 million to the Surface Water Management Division to address failing culverts and kick start an estuary restoration project in the Snohomish Estuary.
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