Stormwater Work Group

The goal of the Stormwater Work Group (SWG) is to continue to develop and implement a sustainable, cooperative stormwater monitoring and assessment framework. We are implementing the 2010 Stormwater Monitoring and Assessment Strategy for Puget Sound, as well as more than 100 stakeholder group recommendations.

Members of the Stormwater Work Group are representatives of local, state, and federal governments, environmental and business organizations, public ports, tribes, and agriculture. The group formed in 2008 to develop a strategic approach to monitoring and assessment, and to reduce stormwater pollution in Puget Sound. The group's work directs the Stormwater Action Monitoring (SAM) program implementation and other stormwater-related monitoring and assessment.

An innovative approach to stormwater monitoring

Local governments in Western Washington spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year implementing the requirements of municipal stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. How do we know if the permits are working?

Most NPDES permits require compliance monitoring. But in contrast to controlled sources which often come from the end of a pipe, municipal stormwater permits apply across continuous, "nonpoint" landscape with thousands of property owners. The virtually unlimited public access to municipal stormwater infrastructure makes these systems especially challenging to monitor.

Permittees asked Ecology for a different approach to monitoring. In 2008 the Stormwater Work Group was convened. Over the first eight years of this process, hundreds of individuals representing dozens of organizations participated in 70 formal stakeholder meetings, dozens of additional targeted discussions, and five public workshops as part of the process to develop and implement a new, coordinated monitoring program.

Stormwater Work Group's role in stormwater monitoring

The Stormwater Work Group continues to meet five-to-six times per year to implement, improve, and expand the regional stormwater monitoring program. The group strives for consensus around a cooperative program that leverages existing programs, scientific expertise, and other capacity to improve our understanding of stormwater impacts and evaluate the effectiveness of stormwater management actions.

The Stormwater Work Group sets priorities and oversees the budget for Stormwater Action Monitoring, the regional stormwater monitoring program implemented through the municipal stormwater permits. We want to know whether conditions are getting better or worse, whether we are protecting key resources, and whether our programs are effective at achieving desired results.


Strategy, results, and findings

Recommendations for:

What projects are we working on?

The Stormwater Work Group has a two-year work plan that is updated each winter. The 2017-2018 work plan includes:

  • Developing a communication strategy
  • Completing stream, sediment, and mussel data status analyses
  • Planning future trends monitoring
  • Selecting effectiveness studies
  • Recommending source identification projects
  • Planning to implement an agricultural runoff monitoring strategy
  • Reviewing our scientific framework

SWG 2017 Work Plan

Current projects

Stay in touch

Get the most current news about the Stormwater Work Group in the SWG Reporter.

The group sends out five newsletters each year announcing important decisions and recommendations.

Meeting summaries

The next Stormwater Work Group meeting is Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: USGS
934 Broadway
Tacoma, WA 98402

The previous year of SWG meeting notes include the draft agenda and meeting summary. For more historical documents, please contact Karen Dinicola.

The pooled resources oversight committee (PRO-C) help administer SAM spending. Here are the previous meeting notes.