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Puget Soundkeeper Alliance 

Description

Our 4 program initiatives - monitoring, engagement, enforcement and partnerships - are sharply focused and action-based to address Washington State Department of Ecology's #1 identified water quality issue facing Puget Sound - polluted stormwater runoff. Stormwater enters the Sound directly through storm drains after rain washes off streets, lawns, industrial facilities & construction sites.

Mission Statement
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance protects and preserves Puget Sound from illegal and toxic pollution. Soundkeeper actively monitors Puget Sound by boat, enforces the Clean Water Act, engages with stakeholders and implements solution-oriented partnerships with the business community. Soundkeeper is on the water every week, stopping pollution every day.
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Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
5305 Shilshole Ave NW Ste 150 
Seattle 
WA
98107-5344 
(206) 297-7002 

Chris Wilke 
Puget Soundkeeper & Executive Director 

Programs

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Programs

Active Monitoring
Soundkeeper Chris Wilke and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance-trained volunteers conduct regular boat and kayak patrols, looking for illegal discharges and other evidence of pollution. Violations are documented and reported to Washington State Department of Ecology and the US Coast Guard. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is the only organization working actively on the water in the Central Puget Sound area every week throughout the year to document and report pollution.

Active Enforcement
The Clean Water Act empowers Puget Soundkeeper Alliance to enforce the law and make long-standing polluters comply with their discharge permits. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance has taken legal action on over 140 permit violators, returned them to compliance and raised over $1.6 million in mitigation funds which are given to local conservation groups to repair environmental damage. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance does not receive any money from its enforcement work.

Solution-Oriented Partnerships
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance works with businesses, government and individuals to create voluntary partnership efforts that protect and preserve Puget Sound from harmful pollution. These partnerships implement innovative on-the-ground pollution prevention efforts that make our waters safer. Examples include: the EnviroStars Cooperative, the Clean Marina Washington program and the Boatyard Stormwater Treatment Technology Project.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance won the appeals of the Phase I and II Municipal Stormwater Permits and created a national precedent for managing stormwater runoff. Municipalities are now required to implement Low Impact Development (LID) practices to the “maximum extent practicable”. LID techniques increase on-site infiltration and treatment of stormwater, and are cheaper than moving the stormwater downstream through increasingly larger pipes.

Despite these recent successes, there is much work still to do. At stake is the water quality in Puget Sound and its tributaries. Stormwater runoff -which is the largest source of water pollution in the region- is not yet effectively regulated and polluters are still not held accountable by government agencies. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance relies on the generous support of individuals, businesses and foundations who share our vision of a healthy, pollution-free Puget Sound supporting salmon, shellfish, orca whales, rockfish, trade and commerce, and fishing and recreation. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is making a difference!

Evaluation

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance (Soundkeeper) believes the marine life living in Puget Sound is the ultimate indicator of the health of the Sound. Their unique role is that of watchdog, advocate and partner for the health of Puget Sound waters. Soundkeeper defends the Puget Sound, both on the water and in the courtroom.

Proven Success
During the last ten years, Soundkeeper has appealed or filed briefs for every stormwater permit issued and has achieved quantifiable gains each time in reducing stormwater pollution discharges. They have raised more than $3 million in mitigation funding for third-party water quality improvements through their enforcement actions.

Use of Best Practices
Soundkeeper is the only organization doing this kind of work locally, by actively patrolling the waters of Lake Union, the Ship Canal and Central Puget Sound with the goal of identifying, documenting, and reporting illegal water pollution. All mitigation funds awarded through their initiated enforcement actions go to third-party water quality improvement projects.

A key element of Soundkeeper’s strategy is its role as Waterkeeper and founding member of the Waterkeeper Alliance. Waterkeepers around the world act as citizen enforcers of water pollution laws, with their on-water presence allowing them to detect pollution at its source and act quickly on this first-hand knowledge.

Collaboration
Soundkeeper collaborates on almost every aspect of its work, from efforts stormwater permit appeals to volunteer events to education and outreach. In 2011, Soundkeeper joined with four other Waterkeeper organizations across the state to establish the WaterkeepersWashington coalition. Current focus areas include coal transport/export, non-point source pollution, toxins in fish that affect humans, and stormwater permits.

Sustainability
Soundkeeper has been resilient in the face of reductions in state and private funding in recent years. They have ended the last three budget years with surpluses that they have used to fund a strategic 6-month operating reserve as well as a small cash reserve to mitigate cash-flow issues.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
3/10/2013 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2012 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2011 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/10/2008 $15,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/14/2006 $15,000.00support general operating expenses.

Financials

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