State board adds Salish Sea to region's watery lexicon
The state Board of Geographic Names today voted 5-1 in favor of adding Salish Sea as one of the approved names for the Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia and Strait of San Juan de Fuca.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Washington State Board on Geographic Names today voted 5-1 in favor of adding Salish Sea as one of the approved names for the body of water encompassing Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia.
Board members said they approved the name to acknowledge the ecological continuum than spans the international boundary between Canada and the United States.
The name still has to be approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and its Canadian counterpart. But for the proposal's proponent, Bert Webber, a Bellingham biologist, the vote was a sweet victory nonetheless.
Webber first proposed the name in 1989, but withdrew the request from the board's consideration for lack of interest. Times have changed, he said today. Renewed interest in the ecological preservation of Puget Sound calls for a name that encompasses not just the waters from Olympia to the San Juan Islands, but the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Strait of Georgia, because the waters — and problems facing them — are all connected.
"What's in a name?" he said. "This will help us all realize we all have a part in the health of the Salish Sea."
The board's action does not replace the name Puget Sound, nor require that it be changed on charts. Rather, it is a name that is officially acknowledged as an additional name that may be used to designate the waters encompassing the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound south to Olympia.
Two speakers opposed the adoption at the meeting, saying not enough people were aware of the proposal, and that it could be confusing. Board member Shirley Lewis cast the lone opposing vote, echoing those concerns.
Board Chairman Peter Goldmark, who heads the state Department of Natural Resources, voted yes, saying the name is "a logical addition to existing names to describe an ecological region."
Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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