Washington State Department of Ecology - May 29, 2013 REVISED: 5/29/2013 4PM

13-137

CORRECTION: The third paragraph of this news release now correctly identifies the city of Redmond as being offered a federal grant award. The previous version had mistakenly listed Renton.

Federal grants aim to curb stormwater runoff to Puget Sound watersheds

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is offering $2 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants to eight Puget Sound communities to help curb the adverse effects stormwater can pose to the region’s critical watersheds.

Surface water runoff — or stormwater — that flows off our residential, commercial and industrial lands is the leading pollution threat to the streams, rivers and lakes in the watersheds that drain to Puget Sound.

The grants will help the cities of Edmonds, Kirkland, Mukilteo and Redmond as well as King, Kitsap, Thurston and Whatcom counties plan for stormwater retrofit projects to correct deficiencies in older, existing infrastructure in nine targeted creek systems.

Project details are online (PDF).

The retrofit planning projects will be designed to reduce high stormwater flows, improve water quality and restore habitat. Uncontrolled stormwater can scour creek channels, creating erosion and muddy runoff that carries fine sediments that smother aquatic habitat.

Local governments will use various approaches including low impact development — a construction technique that uses vegetation, healthy soils, porous pavement and other tools — to control stormwater runoff and prevent pollution from being carried downstream.

Besides silt, urban runoff can also contain:

Preventing pollution from urban stormwater runoff and protecting and restoring habitat are among the top priorities outlined in the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda – the science-based plan to restore Puget Sound. Armed with the Action Agenda, the state now receives federal EPA dollars for which it otherwise would not qualify.

The Partnership is the state agency responsible for ensuring public dollars spent on Puget Sound recovery are used effectively. The agency prioritizes recovery projects and coordinates the action of more than 750 organizations working together to restore the health of Puget Sound.

Partnership Interim Executive Director Marc Daily said: “Stormwater retrofits are one of the many ways our region is working together to protect and restore Puget Sound. These federal dollars will help us advance science-based, high-priority projects to restore our watersheds, improve water quality and protect Puget Sound for future generations.”

Since the Action Agenda was first adopted in 2009, EPA has allocated more than $160 million to the region’s tribes, cities, counties, non-profit entities, and state and federal agencies to help recover Puget Sound.

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Media Contacts: Curt Hart, Ecology media relations, 360-407-6990; cell, 360-480-7908 (curt.hart@ecy.wa.gov)

For more information:

Details about grant offers (www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/docs/grants/2013StormwaterRetrofitAwarded.pdf)

Ecology Puget Sound website (www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/index.html)

Puget Sound Partnership website (www.psp.wa.gov)

Puget Sound Action Agenda (psp.wa.gov/action_agenda_center.php)

Puget Sound Toxics Assessment (www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/toxicchemicals/index.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)