In late November 2011, Brad Warren took his idea of forming a blue ribbon panel to recommend actions to counter OA in Washington to Terry Williams of the Tulalip Tribes and Bill Dewey of Taylor Seafoods. They, in turn, proposed the initiative to Governor Christine Gregoire, and she announced her plan to appoint the panel on Dec. 9. After being named to the panel, Brad became one of its most active members, co-chairing the mitigation and adaptation workgroup; raising funds to support staffing, research, and publications; and helping to address issues and build consensus.
Eric Swenson was Brad’s alternate on the panel and a member of the education and outreach workgroup. He served the panel primarily as a writer and editor, helping to draft recommendations, write fact sheets, edit reports, and contribute to the panel’s communications. Even before the panel made its recommendations, Eric began organizing outreach events promoting the panel’s work and continues doing so. He wrote and placed op-eds for panel members and helped journalists write articles and cover OA-related events.
Global Ocean Health (GOH) also commissioned two key studies on behalf of the panel, one assessing Washington’s existing policy toolkit for addressing OA and the other, Sweetening the Waters, evaluating the efficacy and feasibility of ways to mitigate, remediate, or adapt to OA. GOH also paid to create a photographic comparison of oyster larvae growing in regular and high CO2 water. The photographs, taken with a scanning electronic microscope at Oregon State University became the iconic image for OA in the Northwest.
The Blue Ribbon Panel was the first in any state (and may be the first such governmental effort in the world). It has helped to spur similar initiatives in other states, expanding public investment and capacity for OA research, monitoring, adaptation, and pollution reduction. And it was GOH that got the ball rolling.