Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Fossil Fuel Export Panel

Description

Increasing vessel traffic in the waters of the Salish Sea is a topic that has been monitored by governmental agencies on both sides of the border for decades. As numbers and sizes of vessels increase, so does the potential for a collision and a devastating spill of propulsion fuel. It goes without saying that an oil spill within the confines of the waters of the Salish Sea would be an environmental disaster. But both the lack of scientifically valid data and the ability to collect and understand those data sometimes interferes with a community’s ability to respond. How then, to engage citizens in this type of issue, and empower them to help in real and measurable ways? The San Juan MRC has proposed a project. The project consists of four workshops to train citizen science volunteers in scientifically valid and legally defensible collections of marine sediments and waters in the northern Puget Sound area. The workshops are designed to be a model to both train citizens in the scientific methods as well as to understand how scientific data can be used to develop effective environmental policy. In addition, the samples collected by the workshop participants will establish the baseline data to document “no net loss” to the marine environments in the face of increased shipping of fossil fuels (oil and coal) in the waters of the northern Puget Sound region. Designed for citizens in the region, each workshop includes both instruction and hands-on experiences in scientific sample collection and data analysis, leadership training in community education, and analyses of the importance of valid scientific data on the development of rational environmental policy. Key words: Vessel Traffic; spill; citizen science; environmental education, environmental policy

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Engaging Citizens in response to increasing Vessel Traffic

2016SSEC

Increasing vessel traffic in the waters of the Salish Sea is a topic that has been monitored by governmental agencies on both sides of the border for decades. As numbers and sizes of vessels increase, so does the potential for a collision and a devastating spill of propulsion fuel. It goes without saying that an oil spill within the confines of the waters of the Salish Sea would be an environmental disaster. But both the lack of scientifically valid data and the ability to collect and understand those data sometimes interferes with a community’s ability to respond. How then, to engage citizens in this type of issue, and empower them to help in real and measurable ways? The San Juan MRC has proposed a project. The project consists of four workshops to train citizen science volunteers in scientifically valid and legally defensible collections of marine sediments and waters in the northern Puget Sound area. The workshops are designed to be a model to both train citizens in the scientific methods as well as to understand how scientific data can be used to develop effective environmental policy. In addition, the samples collected by the workshop participants will establish the baseline data to document “no net loss” to the marine environments in the face of increased shipping of fossil fuels (oil and coal) in the waters of the northern Puget Sound region. Designed for citizens in the region, each workshop includes both instruction and hands-on experiences in scientific sample collection and data analysis, leadership training in community education, and analyses of the importance of valid scientific data on the development of rational environmental policy. Key words: Vessel Traffic; spill; citizen science; environmental education, environmental policy