PWSK’s Grassroots Campaigns and Advocacy work to educate and engage community members as clean water advocates through monitoring, public comment and issue campaigns; and engages in legal action when necessary to protect citizen’s right to clean water. Issues include protection of healthy fisheries, lingering impacts of the 1989 ExxonValdez oil spill, commercial and recreational water impacts, resource development and protection of the Clean Water Act.
PWSK’s Citizen Environmental Monitoring program (CEMP) strives to have social merit, educational and scientific rigor and to promote environmental stewardship. Using appropriate scientific protocols, community participants are directly involved in data collection and production of knowledge about environmental conditions. This information can be shared across communities for a cohesive Sound-wide awareness and understanding, and applied to decision making processes.
In 2012 PWSK joined forces with the Native Village of Eyak, the Oil Spill Recovery Institute, Alaska Sea Grant, Prince William Sound Science Center, Cordova Fisherman’s Union and the Cordova Harbor Commission to provide education and outreach at the Cordova Harbor during the summer. Allen Marquette is the Outreach Coordinator and armed with his crew of enthusiastic volunteers, has been informing the harbor users about water quality issues and asking to take part in a short survey on what is perceived as the biggest problems and needs for the Cordova Harbor.
In addition to fun, the most important contribution that education and outreach efforts can have is to develop public commitment to water quality protection. Prince William Soundkeeper stakeholders have been involved in restoration and cleanup of marine debris since the 1989 ExxonValdez oil spill. Clean up sites include coastlines, harbors and remote islands. As the organization has grown, the program has evolved to include educational programming, data collection and analysis and surveys of commercial and recreational resource users.
With contributions from adult project investigators and student scientist collaborators, the Student Environmental Monitoring Program involves individual student participants and communities across the Sound. The goal is to establish baseline data that can be utilized by researchers and by students and their communities to develop a cohesive, Sound-wide awareness of ecosystem issues.