Stories for Ecology's Northwest Region

Water Quality stories support the Water Quality Program's activities.
Some stories may fall under more than one category, and are listed accordingly.


Barker Creek: The Future of a Watershed
This small but important stream had persistently high fecal coliform levels. A multi-agency group came together to create the Barker Creek Alternative Futures Plan. Work done through this project resulted in improved water quality in the Barker Creek watershed by finding and correcting sources of pollution, and implementing several key farm plans and agricultural best management practices.
(Provide excellent technical and financial assistance)

Cities, Schools, and Clean Water: A city works with local schools to protect water quality
Early education on the importance of good water quality and factors causing pollution is the “ounce of prevention” that leads to a “pound of cure.”
(Clean-up water pollution; Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

City of Issaquah - Rainier Boulevard Street LID Improvement Project
The Rainier Boulevard Street Improvement Project used low impact development (LID) in a road reconstruction and sidewalk improvement project in Issaquah. It is one of the largest regional projects to use pervious asphalt on a city arterial street.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Clean Streams for Clean Shellfish: Stream Clean-up by Looking Around
How an Ecology-financed consultant study led to further investigation that uncovered a serious fecal coliform pollution problem.
(Clean-up water pollution; Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Controlling Pet Waste in Suburban Areas: Where to Look - and What to Say to the Public
Snohomish County used a scientific approach to their pet waste challenge and created a program to help local governments change public knowledge and behaviors to help keep pet waste out of local streams.
(Clean-up water pollution; Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Cottage Lake: Watershed Education Helps to Protect a Valuable Resource
Since the early 1970s, King County′s Cottage Lake has experienced algae blooms due to excessive amounts of phosphorus entering the lake. A Cottage Lake Management Plan was created. Data from the plan aided development of the Cottage Lake water quality cleanup plan (formally known as a Total Maximum Daily Load) for phosphorus in 2004, followed by the Cottage Lake Water Quality Implementation Plan in 2007. Once the Cottage Lake Implementation Plan was complete, the Friends of Cottage Lake, a non-profit organization made of of local residents, and King County worked in partnership to develop the Cottage Lake Total Phosphorus Reduction Plan Grant, provided by Ecology′s Centennial Grant Program.
(Clean-up water pollution; Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution; Provide excellent technical and financial assistance; Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Curiosity Killed the Bacteria
Ecology's Northwest Region Office staff used inexpensive sampling methods to find a failing septic system, then worked with other governmental agencies to help the owners fix their system.
(Clean-up water pollution)

Door-to-door Outreach: Helping Streams One Home at a Time
Urban and suburban streams experience pollution and hydrologic stresses from local development.; The Adopt-A-Stream Foundation worked with a neighborhood in the Marysville area to lower stream temperatures and improve water quality along Hayho Creek in the Middle Fork of Quilceda Creek.
(Clean-up water pollution)

Enforcement Promotes Understanding
Some homeowners complained to Ecology that the city of Goldendale (City) had dug out a wetland on their property, leaving behind a pond that smelled of sewage. While the case seemed simple at first, the outcome went farther than “just” environmental protection. Ecology’s Central Regional Office’s subsequent enforcement and communication with the City helped bridge years of discontent between the City and Ecology.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution; Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Improving Water Quality in the Samish: Getting the manure out of streams and shellfish beds
With help from involved citizens and motivated local officials, combined with an Ecology water quality monitoring project, Ecology discovered two agriculture-related sources of fecal coliform bacteria pollution to Samish Bay. Ecology and the Department of Agriculture worked with the operators to remove the sources and use best management practices which will help clean up the bay.
(Clean-up water pollution; Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Lake Ketchum: An Innovative Approach to Address Lake Pollution
Lake Ketchum is a small lake in Snohomish County. It historically served as a drinking water supply for the nearby city of Stanwood. The lake has experienced increasingly toxic algal blooms primarily due to uncontrolled sources of pollution entering the lake from a nearby farm and from phosphorus buildup in lake sediments. The Snohomish Surface Water Management, through funding from various sources and educating the public on best management practices, is working to control pollution going into the lake.
(Clean-up water pollution, Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Lakeside Life Lessons: A Community's Commitment to a Healthier Watershed
Long Lake, in Kitsap County, has been plagued with frequent toxic algae blooms and inundated with dense noxious weeds, making beneficial uses such as swimming, fishing, and boating almost impossible to enjoy. In 2005, with the help of Senator Bob Oke, Kitsap County received special appropriations funding totaling $950,000 to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for Long Lake. The plan addresses water quality impairments, provides public education and helps to promote individual responsibility for phosphorus source control throughout the watershed.
(Clean-up water pollution; Provide excellent technical and financial assistance)

Low Impact Development Stormwater Grant Program: City of Bremerton - Bremerton Parks and Recreation Department
Utilizing low impact development (LID) principles in Blueberry Park is an opportunity to convey important environmental values to students and the surrounding neighborhood of this actively used park.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Low Impact Development Stormwater Grant Program: City of Poulsbo - Caldart Avenue Stormwater LID Project
As part of a project to improve motorized and pedestrian safety on a portion of Caldart Avenue, which is in a rapidly growing neighborhood in the city of Poulsbo, the city installed low impact development (LID) elements to help retain and treat stormwater runoff.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Low Impact Development Stormwater Grant Program: City of Redmond - Grass Lawn Park Phase III Project
The city of Redmond undertook the grass Lawn Park Phase III renovation project. The project incorporated several low impact development (LID) elements as part of the renovation. The city hopes to reduce stormwater runoff volumes with these improvements.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Low Impact Development Stormwater Grant Program: King County - Military Road and 272nd Street Intersection Improvement Project
King County wanted to demonstrate that low impact development (LID) can be cost-effective, in spite of constraints usually encountered in capital projects for arterial roadways. This improvement project, at the intersection of Military Road and 272nd Street in King County, incorporated two LID technologies to meet stormwater management requirements.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Masked Bandits Make Problems for Shellfish
What is the connection between raccoons and shellfish? One Kitsap Health inspector tells Ecology how he discovered a large raccoon population and why the Kitsap Public Health District thinks this is a much larger issue that needs to be addressed.
(Clean-up water pollution, Provide excellent technical and financial assistance, Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

New Tidgate for Batt Slough
Ecology Coastal Protection Funding combined with funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to replace a critical tidegate structure on Batt Slough in the Snohomish River Valley. The new high-tech, low maintenance tidegate solves flooding problems as well as improves water quality and salmon passage.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution; Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

North Creek Watershed - Fighting Flashy Flow
How the city of Mill Creek helped improved the health of North Creek flows and protected public and private buildings.
(Clean-up water pollution)

Poulsbo Cleans up a Lot on Liberty Bay
Samples of stormwater flowing into Liberty Bay from a parking lot in downtown Poulsbo showed large pollutant concentrations. With the help of an Ecology grant, the city was able to install stormwater tools to reduce the amount of pollution entering Liberty bay from the parking lot and beautify the downtown corridor in the process.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution; Provide excellent technical and financial assistance, Clean-up water pollution)

Putting the Reins on Stormwater: Improving Stormwater Management at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Local fairgrounds are an important part of many agricultural communities. The Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington, covers 185 acres. Snohomish County Staff noticed that the fairground’s stormwater treatment plan needed improvement. They worked with the state Department of Ecology to improve stormwater treatment by utilizing low impact development (LID) techniques.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Shoreline’s Aurora Corridor Improvement
Approximately 40,000 to 45,000 vehicles and a large number of pedestrians use a 3-mile stretch of Aurora Avenue (Highway 99) between North 145th Street and North 205th Street in Shoreline, Washington every day. Between 1992 and 1996, vehicles struck 42 pedestrians and 38 percent of those accidents were fatal or disabling. Buildings, roadways, and parking lots covered approximately 97 percent of the area in hardened surfaces. The inadequate stormwater system contributed to downstream flooding, erosion, and pollution problems. The city’s initial goal was to address pedestrian and traffic safety concerns. They also wanted to help improve the local economy, the environment, and replace the inadequate stormwater system at the same time.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Skagit County On-Site Programs: Financial Assistance Leads to Pollution Reduction
With funding assistance from Ecology, Skagit County is educating property owners on septic system maintenance, encouraging regular septic system inspections, and providing low interest loans so property owners can repair or replace failing systems.
(Clean-up water pollution; Provide excellent technical and financial assistance)

Snohomish County – Evergreen State Fairgrounds LID Improvements Project
Snohomish County recently installed many low impact development (LID) improvements at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Snohomish River Basin: An Ecosystem in Transition
For several decades, Snohomish County Surface Water Management worked to rehabilitate several prime historical salmonid habitat estuaries in the Snohomish River Basin. With the project nearly complete, they found they needed a small amount of financial help to finish. So, they turned to Ecology’s Direct Implementation Fund to help them complete the project.
(Provide excellent technical and financial assistance)

Solar-powered Livestock Watering: Keeping Cattle, Fish, and People Healthy
The Snohomish Conservation District installed a solar-powered watering system at a cattle ranch near Arlington, WA, and developed a loaner program. Read about what the District learned and how this off-stream watering technique can help you comply with state and local laws while raising livestock for profit or pleasure.
(Clean-up water pollution)

To ORV or NOT to ORV, that is the Question: Reducing Impacts from Off-Road vehicles
The Department of Ecology’s Northwest Regional Office, along with the Department of Natural Resources, who managed the site,  along with members of recreational user groups and concerned individuals worked together to improve and maintain miles of authorized ORV trails so that the area can be used for recreation without impacting the streams in the area.
(Clean-up water pollution; Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution; Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Too Much Water in the Neighborhood: Neighbors find Stormwater Infiltration Provides Many Benefits
Stormwater management in Snohomish County historically consisted of engineered delivery systems associated with impervious developed areas. A Snohomish County grant project pilot study began in 2004 to implement green infrastructure retrofits to stormwater facilities within existing neighborhoods and to educate and involve the public in stormwater management. Outreach activities reconnected residents to their natural areas in order to ensure the long-term health of these areas for the purpose of natural stormwater management.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Understanding and Controlling Sea Lettuce in Dumas Bay
In 2005, residents living along Dumas Bay noticed excessive amounts of sea lettuce and a very strong odor in the air. In 2007, Federal Way began consulting with Ecology about the problem, as well as working with the Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, and Health; Lake Haven Utility District, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, and local residents. They developed two separate grants to address sea lettuce in Dumas Bay.
(Other Water-Quality Related; Provide excellent technical and financial assistance)

Wheel-of-Water Turns Heads Toward Terrific New Behaviors to Protect Aquatic Treasures
Ecology found a way to compete for attention at fairs and other events while getting our water quality message across in a fun and entertaining way. A very impressive 30-inch "Wheel-of-Fortune"-type device engages people using a solid and attractive spinning wheel that could be safely manipulated by even small children, and brightly colored graphics from Water Quality′s series of light-hearted graphics from the "Washington Waters – Ours to Protect."
(Prevent and reduce nonpoint pollution)

Whither Woodinville Wine Wastes?
Winery wastes in a Woodinville drainage ditch let to a series of "teachable moments" for the local wineries, and good collaboration between the city, King County, and Ecology.
(Prevent and reduce point and stormwater pollution)

Why Does Hansen Creek look like Normandy Beach?
Skagit County and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe worked together to restore natural processes to a large alluvial fan in Hansen Creek. Previous modification of the creek attempted to control sediment deposition by straightening and periodically dredging the creek. Ecology assisted local governments to remove this significant problem for farmers and fish by helping them reconstruct the natural features of the Hansen Creek alluvial fan and letting the creek do what comes naturally.
(Clean-up water pollution; Provide excellent technical and financial assistance)


Back to Stories Catalog


Contact us for more information


Back to top of page

Last updated May 2015