Lettuce: Good in salads, not so good on beachesBy Sarah | March 19th, 2009 | Category: Blog, Eye on Olympia |
Although boat owners may not know where their $10.50 boat-registration fee goes after they finish writing the check, the state Legislature is considering adding the cause against saltwater algae to the beneficiaries of these fees.
Although lettuce is good in salads, it’s not as good for nearshore habitats in the Puget Sound.
Too much sea lettuce – and decomposing sea lettuce – creates low oxygen conditions in the water, which negatively affects aquatic ecosystems. According to a Senate bill report on 5412, the seaweed contributes to “dead zones,” where fish and plants cannot survive.
The dead and decomposing seaweed also wreaks havoc on beaches, suffocating clams and affecting bird habitat.
Funds in the account would be distributed by the Department of Ecology for management and research of saltwater algae in the Puget Sound and on Puget Sound beaches. Grants could be made to cities, counties, tribes, special purpose districts and state agencies, according to the bill’s digest.
The grants would be usable by grantees for proactive algae control projects as well as reactive projects.
According to the bill, preference in funding allocation will be given to grantees that are considered “Puget Sound partners,” which are defined by RCW 90.71.010 as entities that have “been recognized by the [Puget Sound] partnership … as having consistently achieved outstanding progress in implementing the 2020 [Puget Sound] action agenda.”
The account – and, environmentalists hope, the algae problem – will expire June 30, 2012.
The bill is scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources March 26.