Water Quality photo identifier

Water Quality Program

Saltwater Algae Program

Ecology is not accepting applications for Saltwater Algae Program grants at this time.

Revised Fiscal Year 2010 Saltwater Algae Final Offer and Applicant List


Certain Puget Sound beaches are fertile grounds for blooms of sea lettuce (several species of the genus Ulva). Sea lettuce can grow rapidly and accumulate in thick piles driven by winds and currents. It tends to occur in shallow bays and inlets when the long hours of bright sunlight of the summer combine with a lack of wind and an influx of nutrients from a variety of sources. All types of seaweeds, including sea lettuce, are essential components of the Puget Sound ecosystem. They provide food for several species of sea birds, fish, and other marine animals, as well as shelter for several fish species. At times, the decay of sea lettuce accumulations can release very unpleasant odors.

For more information on sea lettuce, see:

The Saltwater Algae Grant Program

Residents living near beaches where sea lettuce create nuisance odors would like to be able to manage the accumulated sea lettuce and reduce the impact on their enjoyment of the shoreline. The 2009 Legislature included language in the state’s operating budget for Ecology to provide $140,000 in grants to:

cities, counties, tribes, special purpose districts, and state agencies for capital and operational expenses used to manage and study excessive saltwater algae with an emphasis on the periodic accumulation of sea lettuce on Puget Sound beaches.

Ecology’s grants under the Saltwater Algae Grant Program target projects involving the management of sea lettuce accumulations, as well as research on the environmental processes that produce the blooms and distribute the algae, long-term trends of sea lettuce accumulations, and research on the effects of these accumulations on habitat, human health and quality of life.

For more information about this program: Contact Us

Lizbeth Seebacher

Phone: (360)407-6938

Email: Lizbeth.Seebacher@ecy.wa.gov