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About Us

Protecting Washington's Quality of Life in the 21st Century

Washingtonians take quality of life seriously. It’s an important part of who we are and what Washington State is.

Quality of life is a big concept. It encompasses our communities and families, our economy and businesses, and our unsurpassed natural environment. All three dimensions are interconnected and interdependent. When all three are healthy, Washingtonians thrive.

Communities, families and businesses depend on clean air, land and water, and on reliable water supplies. Take one of these away, and communities and businesses struggle. Here’s one measure of the interconnectedness of community, economy and the environment: Natural resources activities support more than one-third of Washington’s economy. These include forestry, farming, hydropower, fishing and other outdoor recreation, and waterborne trade.

So it’s little wonder that our state has a long history of protecting its environment and quality of life. Governor Dan Evans called a special session of the Legislature to establish the Department of Ecology in 1970. It was the first agency of its kind in the United States, even preceding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In establishing a modern environmental agency from many parts, the Legislature declared that “it is a fundamental and inalienable right of the people of the state of Washington to live in a healthful and pleasant environment and to benefit from the proper development and use of its natural resources.”

Since then, the governors, the Legislature, and the people of Washington have passed laws that protect that “inalienable right” to healthy communities, a healthy economy, and clean air, water and land for Washingtonians into the future.

They’ve made long-term investments to protect our quality of life by setting up special-purpose revenue sources and accounts supporting specific environmental work and projects.

At Ecology, we’re proud of our history and mission of helping to protect Washington's quality of life. Find out more by following the links below:

Every day, we make important decisions at Ecology. These decisions support the quality of life of the people who live in this great state now and for generations to come.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR

ECONOMIC QUALITY OF LIFE INDICATORS report cover

Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, study says Quality of Life is a key factor in Washington’s economic competitiveness.

STRATEGIC FOCUS: