OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire signed an executive order today extending the Washington Biodiversity Council so it can begin implementing a newly produced strategy for protecting the state’s quality of life.
Gov. Gregoire also appointed eight new members to the committee and reappointed another 14.
“Every person in Washington deserves to live in a place where the air and water are clean,” Gregoire said. “Ensuring that we have a rich natural environment, that supports a diversity of life forms, helps us keep them clean. It also strengthens our economy and keeps Washington a great place to live.”
The executive order extends the life of the council until 2010, and charges it with coordinating implementation of early action items from the newly produced Washington Biodiversity Conservation Strategy: Sustaining Our Natural Heritage for Future Generations.
The strategy, released in December 2007, is a guide for conserving the state’s native plant and wildlife communities while taking into account the needs of cites and towns and working landowners.
“The biodiversity council will team up with other environmental efforts, such as those looking at cleaning up Puget Sound, addressing global warming, protecting working farms and forests and reducing invasive species,“ said Maggie Coon, council chair.
“We will be reaching out to share the strategy’s recommendations, and our hope is that our vision will increase awareness of the importance of conserving biodiversity and inspire many to join in the effort.”
Washington is one of the most biologically diverse states in the nation, but the health of its native plant communities and wildlife is declining because of factors, including changes in land use, invasive species, pollution and climate change.
Biological diversity provides Washingtonians with economic, health and cultural benefits. These include the economic returns of agriculture, forestry and fishing, which generate roughly $3.5 billion in income in Washington annually. Healthy ecosystems provide services, such as the flood protection, valued at up to $51,000 per acre.
The members of the Washington Biodiversity Council are appointed by the governor and represent a cross section of people from around the state. Council members include private landowners, government natural resource managers, tribal representatives, and members of the education, business and environmental organizations.
Gov. Gregoire appointed the following people to the council today:
Jim Armstrong, Spokane, is the director of communications and special projects for the Spokane County Conservation District. He is co-chair of Farming and the Environment Stewardship Farm Committee, chair of Spokane Agriculture Bureau’s Farm Forum Committee, and past community producer for environmental issues and chair of the board of directors for Spokane Public Radio.
Leonard Bauer, Olympia, is managing director of the Growth Management Program at the Washington Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development. He previously served as a planner and planning director for various local governments in Oregon and Washington for 14 years.
Ken Berg, Olympia, is manager of the Western Washington Fish and Wildlife Office for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He has more than 25 years experience in fish and wildlife conservation as a biologist and manager with federal and state agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations.
Dave Brittell, Olympia, is the assistant director of the Wildlife Program at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, where he has worked for 30 years as research scientist, regional wildlife biologist and administrator.
Bonnie Bunning, Olympia, is the executive director for policy and administration at the Washington Department of Natural Resources., where she is responsible or agency policy; legislative, tribal and governmental relations; budget and administrative services; and the Heritage, Recreation and Asset Management programs. She has 26 years experience as a geologist and manager with the agency.
Nina Carter, Olympia, is executive director of Audubon Washington, the state field office of National Audubon. She has worked at Audubon Washington since 2001 and has more than 21 years of experience in public policy and environmental issues; including work at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Ecology, Office of Marine Safety, and Washington State Parks and Recreation.
Maggie Coon, Seattle, is the director of external affairs for The Nature Conservancy of Washington. She previously served as director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy, based in Virginia.
Donna Darm, Seattle, is the assistant regional administrator for the Protected Resources Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service. She is responsible for managing the agency’s listing decisions, critical habitat designations, and rules under the Endangered Species Act. She is also responsible for the agency's implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Cullen Stephenson, Olympia, is the deputy director of the Puget Sound Partnership. He previously was at the Department of Ecology.
Robert Fimbel, Olympia, is the chief of Natural Resources Stewardship for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. He has spent the past 25 years engaged in national and international conservation efforts, in both the private and public sector.
John Garner, Tacoma, is the environmental education coordinator for Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and Tacoma Nature Center. He is also a member of the Pierce County Biodiversity Alliance, a group that is working with willing landowners in voluntary efforts to conserve the biological diversity of the county.
Ron Juris, Bickleton, is a third generation wheat farmer and operator of Diamond J Farms, Inc., a 4,000-acre wheat farm in Klickitat County, and Diamond J Ag Services, which provides spraying, seeding and harvesting for area growers. He also has served as a supervisor of Eastern Klickitat Conservation District for 25 years, is a past President of the Washington Association of Conservation Districts and a past member and chair of the Washington Conservation Commission. He served as president of the Yakima/Klickitat Wheat Growers and on the board of directors of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.
Judd Kirk, Seattle, is president of the real estate division of Port Blakely Tree Farms as well as chief executive officer of Port Blakely Communities, where he has overseen the company’s major real estate projects for the past 17 years.
Tom Laurie, Olympia, is the government liaison for the Washington Department of Ecology, with more than 30 years experience in tribal and state governments including positions in planning, policy development and environmental and executive management. He also has worked for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Kitsap County for 12 years in several positions.
John Marzluff, Seattle, is the Denman Professor of Sustainable Resource Sciences for the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources. He is involved in teaching, research and service in natural resource science and management. He also coordinates the Urban Ecology program at the University of Washington.
Ikuno Masterson, Seattle, is director of planning services at ESA Adolfson and has more than 30 years of experience in land use and environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest.
Dave Roseleip, Spokane, is president of the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation devoted to developing leaders for healthy farms, forests, and communities. Prior to his current position, he served as Assistant Vice President for the Farm Credit Services of Spokane.
Mark Schaffel, Shelton, is the president of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association. He also is owner and operator of Northwest Shellfish Company, Inc. in Olympia.
RonShultz, Olympia, is a special assistant to the Director of the Washington Conservation Commission. He has years of experience in natural resource policy development.
Kate Stenberg, Issaquah, is a senior environmental planner with CDM. She has more than 25 years of experience in environmental planning and natural resource management.
David Troutt, Olympia, is chair of the Nisqually River Council and director of natural resources for the Nisqually Tribe. At the tribe, he heads a diverse department comprised of salmon harvest management, two large salmon hatcheries, shellfish management, data operations, environmental management, wildlife management, legal, administration and budget development and monitoring.
Josh Weiss, Olympia, is director of environmental affairs for the Washington Forest Protection Association. He previously served as nonpartisan legislative staff and as the legislative liaison for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He also has worked in private practice on water and other natural resources issues.
Megan White, Olympia,is the director of the Environmental Services Office at the Washington Department of Transportation. She previously managed the Department of Ecology’s Water Quality Program for several years and held a number of other management positions at Ecology.
The biodiversity conservation strategy and information about the Washington Biodiversity Council are available online at www.biodiversity.wa.gov.