GRI photo identifier

2014 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Economic Impact

Diversity & Local Hiring (EC7)

Ecology has a diversity policy and program with the following mission: “To foster an internal culture that recognizes, values, and is strengthened by the diversity of all employees and to help build a workforce that better reflects Washington’s diverse communities.”

Ecology does not have a hiring policy of preference for local residents. The principle of Equal Employment Opportunity governs our hiring practices: that everyone should have the same access to opportunities. The core of diversity and affirmative action policies and practices is for equal access to full participation.

Infrastructure Investments (EC8)

The Water Quality program works with EPA every four years to conduct a needs assessment for a snap shot of the cost of needed infrastructure for a given time. The Watersheds Needs Survey, done for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program showed in 2012 that the state needed funding for wastewater treatment, wastewater pipelines, CSO correction, stormwater, reclaimed water conveyance and decentralized systems.

These needs are independently verified through modeling conducted as part of the Office of Columbia River’s five-year Water Supply and Demand Forecast. The projects below support our state’s efforts in local economic development by:

  • Creating jobs.
  • Addressing local environmental and public health priorities.
  • Providing financial incentives for compliance with state laws.
  • Providing core funding for many local government programs.
Highlight on Economic Impacts of Ecology Water Resources Projects

*During construction. **After project is completed

Highlight on the Coordinated Prevention Grant Program

The Waste 2 Resources program’s Coordinated Prevention Grants (CPG) support essential local solid and hazardous waste programs and resource conservation through waste reduction, recycling, and reuse programs. Ecology is requesting $29.60 million to continue grant funding for ongoing local solid waste management programs and enforcement activities.

CPG also provides funds for contracted services and purchases that support local businesses and consulting firms. Examples include large equipment purchases, contractors paid to pack up and properly dispose of household hazardous waste, and construction companies building facilities.

Job Creation

Based on calculations using the 2015-17 biennium funding allocation, plus the local match contribution, Ecology estimates that CPG will create 505 jobs. CPG provides roughly 31% of the costs for recycling and hazardous waste programs in all but the largest counties. Local health departments depend on CPG to maintain adequate solid waste enforcement staffing.

Ecology Tasked to Find New Water Supplies for Farming Community of Odessa, Washington

In 2006, the Washington Legislature tasked Ecology to seek out new water supplies for both in-stream and out-stream uses and authorized $200 million to fund the work. Ecology created the Office of Columbia River (OCR) to develop new water supplies using storage, conservation, and voluntary regional water management agreements.

An important focus of this activity is in the Odessa Subarea where groundwater supplies are at risk. OCR has funded projects that allow irrigators to switch from using groundwater to surface water.

The economic value of potato production at risk could be as much as $630 million annually, with a potential loss of 3,600 jobs and $211 million in regional income if aquifers decline to a point where they are no longer usable.

In all, approximately 90,000 acres of Odessa Subarea lands will be switched from declining groundwater to surface water. Getting the replacement surface water to these lands requires a number of infrastructure improvements including the installation siphons and expanding the East Low Canal. Water delivery to some farms from this new source began in early 2014.

Ecology Director Maia Bellon (right) hands off a secondary use permit to Lorri Lee, Pacific Northwest Regional Director, of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The permit allows 164,000 ac-ft of water to be delivered to the Odessa Subarea.

According to a 2005 WSU study, over half of Washington’s agricultural income is generated in the Odessa Subarea. Declining aquifers endanger Odessa’s agricultural future, risking as much as 36,000 jobs and $841 million, annually. Shown above are potato fields being watered in Odessa.

The economic dimension of sustainability concerns the organization’s impacts on the economic conditions of its stakeholders and on economic systems at local, national, and global levels. The goal is to ensure an ecologically sustainable, socially equitable, and economically efficient future.