Laura Blackmore, Hero Nominee 2015
By Elise Pletcher
Cascadia Consulting Group works with many different clients in the Puget Sound region to create solutions for the growing number of environmental challenges we face. Laura Blackmore, who was a Sustainable Leadership Award nominee, works with the water resources vector. The large project she has recently been working on is the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council. Her hard work on this program, facilitating negotiations with all parties involved and securing ample funds, has helped restore a key symbol of the Pacific Northwest, our salmon.
In order to restore salmon populations, Laura works with multiple stakeholders, with very different goals. The Puget Sound Recovery Council meets regularly, and consists of representatives from the fourteen watershed areas affected, NGOs, businesses, governmental organizations, and the Skokomish and Nisqually Native American tribes, as well as others. Laura brings these people, with very diverse backgrounds together, and asks them “what do you want?” She explains that communication is essential, in order to make a change.
Restoration of salmon populations is essential, Chinook salmon populations have decreased by 90% in comparison to historical numbers. A lot of estuaries have been lost due to land use change. Many of these estuaries have been converted into farmland over the years. Each watershed group works on separate projects, depending on the priorities for that watershed, and Laura keeps tabs on what each is monitoring.
Restoration is split into separate components, hatchery, harvest, and habitat, etc. Raising public awareness, restoring habitat, and improving hatchery management are all ways that the council is improving salmon populations. Cascadia Consulting Group works to set relationships in place. They help clients reach innovative solutions. Specific to the Salmon Recovery program, Laura’s work helps private property owners realize their impact, and implement management practices. Laura helped obtain 70 million dollars in funding toward salmon recovery projects.
On the personal level, Laura moved to the Seattle area after college, and instantly felt at home. Her dedication to her work comes from her desire to mitigate and prepare the region from the impeding challenges of global climate change. As a mother she cares about the future health of the region. While Laura’s work with the Salmon Recovery Council has been extensive, she looks forward to working on new and upcoming projects as well.
Congratulations to Laura on her much deserved nomination this past year!