2018 Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum

October 3 & 4, 2018
Four Points Sheraton, Bellingham WA

Map-Salish Sea basin and water boundaries

Salish Sea basin and water boundaries. The Salish Sea water boundary (blue) includes the Strait of Georgia, Desolation Sound, The Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound. The larger watershed basin (green) is the area that drains into Salish Sea waters. WA Water Resource Inventory areas (WRIA) boundary lines are shown for reference. Map: Kris Symer. Data: Stefan Freelan; WAECY.

In 2018, Washington State passed the Strengthening Oil Spill Transportation Act (E2SSB 6269) requiring the Department of Ecology (Ecology) Spills Program to take a variety of new steps to promote the safety of marine transportation and protect the greater Puget Sound from oil spills. One of the Act’s requirements is for Ecology to coordinate with British Columbia and Canada to establish the Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum.

The purpose of the Forum is to exchange information to enhance oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response measures to minimize the risk and impacts of spills in the Salish Sea. The goal is to advance our collective knowledge about current policies and practices, and potential safeguards to protect our shared waters and resources.

Participation in the Forum does not imply endorsement of any recommendations, additional or modified mitigation measures discussed by participating organizations, speakers or attendees. Instead the Forum is intended to advance our collective knowledge about current policies and practices in place and discuss safeguards to protect our shared waters and resources. The Forum will be a non-voting and non-decision-making entity. 

The Forum will serve as a platform for open dialogue for all levels of government from both sides of the border, including Transport Canada, the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, Tribes and First Nations, environmental groups, and industry. It will address issues such as navigational safety, data sharing, and the impacts of spills on the environment, Tribal and First Nation resources, the economy, and public health. This Forum will provide a platform to discuss and share ideas on these and other issues related to vessel traffic.

The Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, of which Washington and British Columbia are founding members, will work with Ecology and the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to establish and hold the Forum.

Forum materials:
Workshop Booklet of Jurisdictions’ Authority
Maps of oil movement from inland to marine waters
Maps of collaboration efforts in transboundary region 
Meeting Summary


For all other information, contact:
Sarah Brace

Councilman Lawrence Solomon of the Lummi Nation gives an opening prayer at the Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum.

Mark Zacharias, BC Ministry of Environment, provides an overview of the oil movement picture British Columbia.

Dale Jensen (WA Ecology) and John Konovsky (Tseil-Wauthuth) discuss Tribal and First Nation perspectives.

The panel on regulatory authorities discuss the oil movement from inland to marine waters.