Why is this area of government important?
Protecting, preserving, and restoring Washington State's natural resources is vital to our economic vitality, health, and quality of life. Healthy ecosystems contribute to the overall well-being of human populations as well as other species. In particular, this topic area focuses on the initiative to ensure a healthy Puget Sound by 2020.
What is state government's role?
Many government agencies, as well as the actions of citizens and businesses, have direct and indirect impacts on natural resources. Responsibility for natural resources spans local, state, and federal government, including many different elected officials. At the state level, some of the ways agencies can affect natural resources include:
- Monitoring marine beaches and working with local officials to ensure beaches are safe for swimming.
- Inspecting stormwater runoff at industrial and construction sites to ensure compliance with allowable levels. (Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of water pollution to Puget Sound.)
- Protecting and restoring critical habitat in and around the Puget Sound.
- Monitoring water levels and enforcing regulations to protect and conserve the amount and quality of fresh water available for our citizens, businesses, and vital habitats.
- Tracking the population of species such as wild salmon and orcas to determine whether strategies to improve their numbers are working.
- Inspecting and repairing septic systems, monitoring sewage systems, and cleaning up toxic waste sites to reduce the amount of pollution reaching Puget Sound.