Bill Ruckelshaus to retire from Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced that Bill Ruckelshaus will retire from his position as chairman of the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council, and proclaimed July 30th as “Bill Ruckelshaus Day” in honor of his work to protect Puget Sound.

“This announcement brings mixed emotions. I’m sad to see Bill leave his position as chair of the leadership council – at the same time I’m excited to see what his next adventures bring, which I’m pleased includes joining the board of the Puget Sound Foundation,” Gregoire said. “Bill’s been providing public service for years – way beyond when most people retire. He deserves some time off, and I want to be the first to wish him well.”
Gregoire and the state Legislature established the Puget Sound Partnership in 2007 – charging the agency to develop an Action Agenda to prioritize and rank projects that protect, restore and prevent pollution in Puget Sound. To date, more than 600 projects have been completed or are underway, creating more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in region. Ruckelshaus is the first chair of the Partnership’s Leadership Council.  
“Bill’s vision – a united, science-based effort that involved the entire sound – became the Puget Sound Partnership,” Gregoire said. “Bill was instrumental in that work, bringing together our tribal partners, our business and environmental communities, our local governments, and our state and federal agencies. Most important – he brought together people from the ground up who shared his passion and dedication. His vision was at once bold and effective, bringing a new vigor to our work. Today we’re getting the job done, and that’s in large part due to Bill’s leadership.”
"Bill Ruckelshaus is an American hero with a legacy of service to our country and our state,” said Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director David Dicks. “No single person in Washington has provided more leadership on salmon recovery, Puget Sound restoration, or commitment to sensible environmental practices than Bill. I am deeply grateful for his service and honored to have worked with him."
Ruckelshaus chaired the Puget Sound Partnership effort in 2006, which led to the creation of the Puget Sound Partnership as a state agency in 2007. Ruckelshaus served as chair of the state Salmon Recovery Board which provides grants to protect and restore salmon habitat. He is also a member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, which brings attention to the importance of protecting and restoring saltwater areas, such as the Puget Sound, that are important to salmon recovery and a range of cultural, economic and quality-of-life interests. He co-founded the Shared Strategy process, the framework within which Puget Sound area watersheds are preparing groundbreaking plans for recovering harvestable and sustainable populations of salmon.  Ruckelshaus was the first administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which was formed in December 1970. He served as director until April 1973. 
“I appreciate the tremendous leadership that Bill has demonstrated as the first Chairman of the Leadership Council as well as his dedication in twice serving as EPA Administrator,” said Rep. Norm Dicks. “He has been an inspiration to all of us committed to a cleaner Puget Sound and to salmon recovery. He set a high standard for the Partnership as it was initially established, and he leaves the organization in good hands, with clear direction and a critically-important goal we all share. I don’t think Bill will every truly retire, but he certainly has earned it many times over.” 
“Throughout his impressive career in public service, Bill has gone above and beyond the call,” said Sen. Patty Murray. “Bill carries with him an unmatched commitment to making Washington state a better place to live, work, and raise a family and I thank him for his tireless efforts.”
“Thank you, Bill, for many years of leadership, commitment, dedication, and service,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell. “Puget Sound, and indeed our entire state, have benefited enormously from your involvement on many important issues of public policy. Just in the past six months, your advocacy in Washington DC on behalf of the Puget Sound Recovery Act and the Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act has been instrumental to the advancement of these critical bills.  You will be sorely missed, but I know we can call on you to help as we proceed with our efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound and salmon runs throughout the Pacific Northwest. Martha Kongsgaard has done a tremendous job as Vice Chair of the Leadership Council and she is ready to assume the role of Chair to continue our progress.”
Gregoire has asked Martha Kongsgaard to serve as the new chair of the Leadership Council. Kongsgaard currently serves as vice chair. “Martha has many long years working on Puget Sound issues and she will serve as she always has with great distinction in her new role,” said Gregoire.
Kongsgaard is a founder of the Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation. The foundation gives grants to a variety of nonprofit environmental, social justice and arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, many of which affect Puget Sound. Her community activities include participation on the national board and the executive committees of Earthjustice, Islandwood, the Future of the Law Institute and Friends of the Methow. She chairs several major capital campaigns, including the Cascade Agenda, the expansion of Islandwood and the building of the LEED-certified Community Center at the New High Point. Kongsgaard has served as the president of Philanthropy Northwest and has spoken broadly about philanthropy and the environmental movement to wide and diverse audiences for the past 20 years. 
To read Ruckelshaus’ resignation letter, visit: