History of Puget Sound cleanup efforts

August 6, 2006 

1920s: Puget Sound shellfish growers sound the alarm over pollution from pulp mills.

1945: State office is created to control pollution - the Pollution Control Commission.

1960s: Pulp mills and other industries begin to treat toxic waste discharged into Puget Sound.

1970: State Department of Ecology is created to oversee statewide pollution control efforts.

1972: Congress passes federal Clean Water Act.

late 1970s-early 1980s: Shellfish bed closures, tumors in Puget Sound bottomfish, declining salmon runs, gray whales' washing ashore and listing of Tacoma tideflats as a federal Superfund site all raise concerns that Puget Sound is in trouble.

1985: Puget Sound Water Quality Authority formed to draft a Puget Sound water quality management plan.

1987: First water quality plan for Puget Sound is created.

1992: State law is passed requiring local governments to form shellfish protection districts and create cleanup plans when pollution closes a shellfish-growing area. Law doesn't require the cleanup plan to be enforced.

1996: Puget Sound Water Quality Authority is disbanded and replaced by less autonomous Puget Sound Action Team, which is housed in the Governor's Office.

1999: Puget Sound chinook salmon is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

2002: Late summer oxygen levels plummet in lower Hood Canal, triggering fish kills and deaths of other marine life.

2005: Puget Sound orca whale population is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

2005: Legislature approves $52 million requested by Gov. Chris Gregoire to kickstart a plan to clean up and restore Puget Sound health by 2020.

December 2005: Gov. Chris Gregoire announces a new environmental initiative to restore Puget Sound to a clean, healthy condition by 2020.

2007: State Legislature creates the Puget Sound Partnership, a new state agency to oversee the cleanup of Puget Sound.

September 2008: Deadline for Puget Sound Partnerhsip to complete a cleanup action plan for Puget Sound.

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