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WSU Scientist Selected for Puget Sound Partnership Scientific Panel

PUYALLUP, Wash. – Washington State University scientist John Stark is one of nine scientists selected from a field of 54 applicants to serve on the Science Panel of Washington state’s Puget Sound Partnership.

John Stark, entomologist and ecotoxicologist, is based at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center. Click image to download high-resolution image. Photo by Brian Clark, WSU CAHNRS and Extension Marketing, News, and Educational Communications.

The Science Panel will provide independent scientific advice to the Leadership Council, the Partnership’s governing body, as it develops a comprehensive plan to restore Puget Sound.

Stark, who is based at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, is an entomologist and ecotoxicologist currently researching the impacts of pesticides and other toxicants in aquatic and agricultural ecosystems on salmon and other aquatic life. He also is developing a risk assessment system for aquatic organisms found in rivers and streams in the Pacific Northwest.

“The Partnership has a monumental and challenging task ahead,” said Stark. “It’s an honor to be selected to be part of this independent panel whose mission is to ensure that the restoration plan is based on sound science.”

The 2007 Washington state Legislature create the Puget Sound Partnership at the request of Gov. Chris Gregoire to carry out the mission of preparing a long-term action agenda for the restoration of Puget Sound. The goal is to restore the Sound’s environmental health by the year 2020.

The Legislature appropriated $238 million to the Partnership for the current biennium and it is projected that some $8 billion will be needed to eventually complete the restoration.

Fifty-four people applied to serve on the panel representing a broad range of scientific expertise and professional experience. The Washington State Academy of Sciences, whose primary task is to provide scientific analysis and recommendations on questions referred to them by the governor or Legislature, selected 15 semi-finalists. The Partnership’s Leadership Council, chaired by Bill Ruckelshaus, selected the final nine panelists who are appointed for four-year terms.

“Some of the state’s top scientists are on now board to help ensure this effort is a success,” said David Dicks, the Partnership’s executive director in a news release announcing the panelists. “Their expertise and input is critical to developing a restoration plan that is grounded in good science.”

More information on the Puget Sound Partnership and the other members of the Science Panel can be found atwww.psp.wa.gov/.