PUGET SOUND WATERSHED COMPREHENSIVE CONSERVATION PROJECT ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - July 30, 2007)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
The Puget Sound region is home to diverse natural resource dependent industries, including everything from fishing, tourism and recreation to agriculture and forest products. As an estuary, the Sound also houses diverse fish and wildlife species. The Sound itself consists of over 2500 miles of shoreline and is fed by over 10,000 streams and rivers that run throughout northwest Washington.
As the second largest container shipping port in the U.S., the Sound is extremely important to the State and Nation as a whole.
The watershed that feeds the Sound includes several large population centers, but is also home to significant agriculture production, including many specialty crops including raspberries, flower bulbs and vegetable seeds. Agriculture contributes $5.6 billion to Washington State's economy, establishing its rank in agriculture production as 12th in the Nation.
Unfortunately, the Puget Sound region is undergoing tremendous change as more people move into the region and water quality and soil concerns increase. The bill before us today helps address these environmental concerns by encouraging agricultural producers in the region to adopt voluntary conservation practices.
The bill also requires a comprehensive plan to encourage cooperation among the multiple agencies and landowners in the region. Many farms in the Puget Sound are adjacent to endangered salmon-bearing streams and bear the brunt of protection for these and other endangered species.
These regulatory requirements place significant burden on producers struggling to stay on the land. We must continue to encourage cooperation and proactive partnerships with producers in this region, as well as the other heavily agricultural regions in the country, helping to keep producers on the land and keep the Nation's agricultural economy healthy and diverse.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT