Despite decades of outstanding work by our staff and partners, native salmon runs continue to decline and southern resident orcas are on the brink of extinction.
The impacts of climate change and rapid population growth demand a shift in our approach to achieving clean water and healthy habitat — one based on science and focused on outcomes — before it is too late.
That is why Executive Constantine created Clean Water Healthy Habitat, an initiative to produce better results sooner for the people, fish, and wildlife of our region.
Turning science into action
King County is committed to investing more than $6 billion over the next decade to protect clean water and habitat throughout the region.
Traditionally, our investments are largely determined by designated funding and regulatory compliance. Under Clean Water Healthy Habitat, we will start by focusing on the outcomes we want to achieve and then determine the best path forward.
Executive Constantine has directed our staff scientists to determine if there are better, faster ways to achieve measurable results, such as healthier streams for fish, more salmon for orcas, and less polluted runoff in communities and waterways. We will then work with regulatory agencies, environmental organizations, and Tribes to determine how to turn the latest science into action.
This is how we will confront the estimated 118 billion gallons of polluted stormwater that washes directly into our waterways each year, perhaps the greatest threat to water quality today in King County.
Our commitment is to make the right investments at the right time in the right places to produce the best results.
Executive Constantine in 2019 signed an executive order directing county departments and divisions to better align their work and demonstrate how it contributes to clean water and healthy habitat.
By better unifying our work, we will achieve the greatest gains for orcas, salmon, and our quality of life as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Environmental Affairs Officer
King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks