Whether on the water patrolling the Puget Sound or working on policies from her office, Blair Englebrecht is working to ensure that the Sound is a safe and pollution-free environment for our orca and salmon populations. She grew up in Colorado, and despite living in a landlocked state felt a deep connection with the water; snorkeling since she was four and scuba diving since she was 11. During her time in Oahu, Hawaii, working as a diving instructor, she witnessed the degradation of the reefs there and later in Port Canaveral, Florida seeing permit compliance violations being covered up, made her staunchly committed to ensuring that our waterways are protected.
Blair has been the Boating Programs Manager with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance for two years now, doing environmental education around clean boating, running a voluntary pollution certification program, driving the patrol vessel, and doing policy work related to vessel and marina pollution. She attests to the role of salmon as an essential part of our ecosystem and notes the inherent importance of both salmon and orca not just for the ecosystem but for being creatures themselves.
A primary goal of their current work is to better educate people on the adverse effects of stormwater runoff. The ways in which we exist in our communities, making personal choices that affect the Sound, and continuing systemic, political choices is one of the points of contention that we must change in order to protect our waterways. Stressing how stormwater runoff from pesticides to fossil fuels has disastrous effects on our marine neighbors as the majority of what goes into our sewer systems through drains leads to the Puget Sound or nearby waterways.
She acknowledges how “the culture of WA—which is so much due to the tribes and their stewardship of the land—is centered around salmon and orca.” Because of this unique attribute of our region, protecting the Puget Sound, orca, and salmon doesn’t just protect a beautiful environment, but also a culture and way of life that has been here for thousands of years. Blair calls on others to get involved in their political system in order to tackle the bigger problems that cannot be done through individual action alone.