Puget Sound National Estuary Program - Integrated Watershed and Stormwater Planning

The Washington State Departments of Commerce and Ecology are coordinating their efforts since 2011 to promote Watershed based planning approaches to development and natural resource protection. Funding has been directed to support numerous local, tribal, and non-profit groups to improve environmental outcomes for Puget Sound. Since 2016 these agencies are working with the Washington State University Stormwater Center to promote integrated Stormwater and Land Use Planning approaches, and are collaborating with other federal, state, local and Tribal partners to promote regional priorities and fund targeted Near Term Actions to recover Puget Sound.

Building Green Cities

The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Guidebook: Incentivizing Low Impact Development (LID) Beyond Permit Requirements presents ways that local governments can incentivize developers to voluntarily incorporate LID on projects in urban growth centers. Using input from interviews, a project advisory committee, and social marketing research, we assessed perceived barriers and motivators for developers, and utilized this research to provide guidance and policies to help local governments incentivize developers. The Guidebook includes tools and outreach materials that local governments can utilize to encourage developers to go beyond existing stormwater requirements; including factsheets for best management practices and a variety of incentive programs.

Watershed projects by Commerce includes work on:

  • promoting more Regional Alliances to improve cross-jurisdictional planning, with an emerging focus on regional approaches to targeted stormwater mitigation
  • Puget Sound Mapping to display current and expected development patterns and how they may impact the region’s environmental health

Stormwater projects include Watershed-based retrofit planning, as well as developing new Implementation Strategies for improving freshwater stream health and reducing toxic pollution impacts on fish.

Please see the Ecology website Puget Sound Watershed Characterization Project and Ecology website Water Topics – Stormwater for further details.

Results and Achievements

  • Helped develop and use targets for Puget Sound Action Agenda
  • 20 grants issued to local governments and one tribe for addressing planning issues
  • Permit Data Project Phase 2 complete with Sound-wide integrated zoning map and targeted development areas
  • Regional Alliances support local integrating organizations in Kitsap, Pierce and King counties so far. Current focus is regional Stormwater management to support urban infill efforts.