SEATTLE — Gov. Chris Gregoire, declaring Puget Sound "sick," on Wednesday proposed a $220-million effort over the next two years as a down payment on restoring and preserving the state's inland marine waters.
Gregoire called the sound one of her most urgent priorities and said state, federal, local and tribal governments must fix it.
Gregoire's announcement came as the Puget Sound Partnership she appointed presented its final report on what needed to be done to restore dwindling habitat and reduce pollution. The report estimates the total cost to clean up and restore Puget Sound at nearly $9 billion between now and 2020.
"The Puget Sound is slowly slipping away from us," said Billy Frank Jr., chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and co-chair of the task force with Gregoire and former Environmental Protection Agency chief William D. Ruckelshaus. "We've got to work together because we can't just let it die."