A database tool is in development to compare and catalogue Salish Sea environmental governance actors, policies, and instruments.
The Salish Sea ecosystem extends from the north end of the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia, to the south end of Puget Sound in Washington State, west to the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca where it meets the Pacific Ocean and east to include the land and rivers that drain into marine waters.
The area was officially named the Salish Sea in 2010 by government leaders on both sides of the Canada – U.S. border (BC-Geographical Names, 2010; USGS, 2009) to refer to the trans-boundary culture and language of First Nations and Tribes that have inhabited the area since time immemorial.
The naming recognizes the integrated ecosystem that exists across political boundaries and illustrates the degree of coordination and collaboration among state and non-state actors that is needed to manage and effect change in the ecosystem.
The Salish Sea Governance Study is a baseline inventory, designed to identify and categorize the variety of actors and instruments that bear on the maintenance and revitalization of the Salish Sea.
Both sides of the border have regulations and actors working to mitigate the multitude of stressors adversely impacting the health of the Salish Sea and to preserve and restore the system. These include governmental entities at varying scales; indigenous communities working individually or integrating efforts; and non-state actors working within non-governmental organizations and NGO-networks.
Formal and informal mechanisms bring these different actors together. Such interaction crosses multiple levels and orders of government and non-governmental civil society. This creates a complicated and, at times, fragmented approach to governance. This study aims to provide more clarity by creating a resource tool to improve awareness of the different governance systems (e.g. laws and policies and policy actors) affecting the Salish Sea in both the United States and Canada.
The report is organized into 16 different sections based on issue areas that are identified as being vital to the health of the Salish Sea. Each section describes legislation, government agencies, First Nations and Tribal governments, and non-governmental organizations relevant to a specific issue. Where applicable, transboundary institutions and instruments are also discussed.