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Home » Archives » June 2006 » Shared Strategy Offer Considered By CC

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06/19/2006: "Shared Strategy Offer Considered By CC"

The County Council has reached consensus to continue to move forward on an agreement with Shared Strategy for Puget Sound (SSPS) to assist the County in updating the County Critical Area Ordinace. Jim Kramer, the Executive Director of SSPS, made a presentation to the County Council in January of this year outlining the history and purpose of the organization and it's willingness to aid San Juan County in updating its Critical Areas Ordinance: Past Story
Mr. Kramer told the Council that SSPS could help to provide funding to assist SSPS and the County to work together toward drafting a Critical Areas Ordinance that would meet the requirements of the Growth Management Act, and further, that the work product and the form of the relationship between SSPS and the County could become a model for other counties in the state.

Last Tuesday Mr. Kramer returned with a "San Juan County and Shared Strategy Memorandum of Agreement" .. According to the Memorandum, the County and SSPS will "support the development of an ecosystem-based management program". While the memo does not go into specifics as to what this means, or as to exactly what is in the program to be managed, what is clear is that SSPS has a goal of protecting and increasing salmon runs in Washington. Toward that end, the group is interested in working with local governments to further their goals; and would like their relationship with San Juan County to be a pilot program for other such relationships in the state.

Some enlightenment as to how all of this is going to work can be found in a white paper entitled "Protecting Ecosystem and Community Values and Functions", subtitled "San Juan Ecosystem-Based Management Initiative". The goal of the initiative is to "involve community members and leaders. Scientists, and key stakeholder in defining the problem, crafting solutions and then committing to act". As far as SSPS is concerned, the Initiative Goals are three: "Advance land and resource issues in a manner that builds community support, interest and enthusiasm; Protect SJC's terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems into the future in a manner that supports and enhances the quality of life"; Demonstrate the interconnectedness of the land and the sea, humans and the environment." The first order of business once the relationship is formalized by the County is to "hire a project manager and consultant team" to implement the phases of the "Process", which are:

Phase 1: Initiative Start-Up
During this initial phase Shared Strategy and San Juan County will formally establish their partnership and hire a project manager and consultant team to initiate the pilot. The solicitation and formation of the Policy Group and Technical Team will form the broader public-private partnership and truly kick-off the Initiative. Achieving deliverables on time during this phase will be a key to leveraging funds and connecting the Initiative to already scheduled workshops and deliverables.

Phase 2: Laying the Foundation
This phase lays the informational foundation for the Initiative. The Policy Group and Technical Team will work interactively with local community groups to compile best available science, program and community protection goals and objectives and conduct a performance assessment of regulatory, voluntary, incentive and educational programs relative to their goals and objectives. This phase will be critical to foster the collaborative environment necessary to constructively work with the gaps identified through the process.

The outcome of this phase will be an initial report on protection objectives and a prioritized list of successes that must be continued and gaps that need to be filled.

Phase 3: Setting Goals, Making Choices
During this phase the Policy Group in conjunction with the community achieves several significant milestones. They reach consensus on what ecosystem functions and values as well as related community needs must be protected, find solutions to gaps, highlight successes and create a completed package for even broader public review and comment.

This phase is critical for using the information gathered in Phase 2 in a manner that supports those participating in the process. The manner in which policy-makers, stakeholders, communities, scientists and others are engaged will be a key to the success of this phase.

Phase 4: Creating a Plan of Action
The focus of this part of the work is to finalize the plan, secure commitments for implementation and to solidify the organizational structure for long-term implementation and management.

Phase 5: Celebration and Implementation

This phase will initiate the new management and administrative structure and is the kick-off to implementation.

As for the Critical Areas Ordinance update that the County must do, and was the reason for Shared Strategy coming to the County Council in the first place, the white paper returns to the subject at the end of the paper:

Critical Areas Ordinance
This proposal assumes the Critical Areas Ordinance update process will be conducted on a separate timeline than this proposal in an attempt to comply with Growth Management Act mandates. It is understood that San Juan County is committed to participating fully in this Initiative and to using the information and conclusions of this process to inform their regulatory packages. Results are expected to directly inform the frequently flooded areas, wetland and fish and wildlife habitat components of the Critical Areas Ordinance.

The County Council has now expressed support for the proposal, and stated how they would like to see specific aspects of the relationship move forward. Councilman Ranker stated that it was important that the project manager be based in San Juan County, and Councilman Myhr told the Council and the representatives from SSPS that a communication stating all of the details should be in place before formally signing on with SSPS. In the materials presented to the Council was a "Job Opening" statement that had been prepared by SSPS for the project manager position, with a closing date of July 14th for applications. Ranker said that there is a "critical overlap between this and other things going on in the county". All three Councilman either stated or asked for confirmation from SSPS that the partnership would not be funded by the County, and that the County would be in charge of the program.

Tom Bauschke
John Evans
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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