Puget Sound Watershed Champions

New Citizen Action Training School looking for Puget Sound’s next watershed champions!

1980s pilot project launched several influential community leaders, watershed projects Citizens throughout Puget Sound will learn how to lead their friends and neighbors in Puget Sound recovery efforts beginning this fall with the launch of the proven Citizen Action Training School (CATS), a civics training program with an emphasis on watershed-related issues.

The CATS program is based on the success of a pilot project that took place in Snohomish County in 1988-89. That program, conducted by the Pilchuck Audubon Society, was focused on local watersheds and trained an active group of community members. More than 20 years later, several of the service projects started by that group are still active.

“The Puget Sound Partnership has identified this as a successful model program and is working to get it going again, this time with the added focus on Puget Sound recovery,” said Interim Executive Director Marc Daily of the Puget Sound Partnership. “After more than 20 years, many of the original Citizen Action Training School graduates are still working on behalf of Washington’s natural resources. They are caring for their local watersheds, sitting on nonprofit boards, working with tribes, and serving as leaders in state and local government. We want to harness that energy for Puget Sound recovery.”

The goal of the CATS program is to train and enable residents to effectively engage in public processes and to affect the system in productive ways. Through this program, the Puget Sound Partnership expects:

  • More people will be able to engage in public process.
  • It will be easier to participate in public processes.
  • People will engage in more productive participation.
  • We will build a base of future leaders in Puget Sound recovery.

The region’s seven Puget Sound Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups, led by the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, teamed up to develop the proposal selected by the Partnership through a competitive grant process.

The CATS program is funded for two years through the Partnership’s Stewardship Program. What participants can expect The first 12-week training opportunities will begin in late September 2013, and will be offered in both Bellingham and Olympia. There will be additional trainings in 2014 in the Everett, Seattle and Olympic Peninsula areas. E-learning will also be available to allow people from more remote areas to participate. CATS participants will receive resources and support to envision and implement a community stewardship service project.

Projects need to relate to one of the Puget Sound Action Agenda’s strategic initiatives: Protect and restore habitat Prevent stormwater pollution Recover shellfish beds The CATS program is open to anyone with an interest in and passion for Puget Sound who has the ability to commit to 50 hours of training during a 12-week period, and then give back to their community with 50 hours of volunteer time to implement a service project. The goal is 25 participants per session and depending on the number of applicants there may be a selection process to ensure a diverse group is included in each class. For more information or to apply to the CATS program, go to www.n-sea.org/cats or contact Rachel Benbrook at (360) 303-9188 (cell), (360) 715-0283 x109 (office) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..