Our director, Maia Bellon, has led the Washington Department of Ecology since February 2013, when she was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee. She quickly became known for forging creative partnerships while seeking innovative solutions to the most controversial environmental challenges we face today.
Maia's Native American heritage taught her to look seven generations ahead. This influences how she approaches her work to protect, preserve, and enhance Washington's environment.
Maia's commitment to partnerships
When you meet Maia, you will quickly learn that she believes anything is possible. She speaks emphatically about what she believes, saying "We don't have the luxury to be paralyzed when it comes to environmental cleanup, environmental stewardship, and environmental preservation. We all need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and clean land where we live, play, and do business."
She also has a personal and deep respect for the environment. "I was brought up in a Native American culture that looks seven generations ahead. That's how I approach this work to protect and restore our land, air, and water that we borrow from future generations."
Maia often says that it's not just what we do, but how we do it, and with whom. She believes in fostering innovative partnerships that stretch across the state — from businesses to conservation groups, from ranchers, dairy farmers and other agricultural producers, to government agencies and tribes — all to make sure that the state's natural resources and economic interests are in balance.
"We may have our differences on how to sustain a healthy environment in harmony with a strong economy, but we are finding creative ways to work together because we have a shared vision. That shared vision is quality of life — quality of life for today and all the tomorrows that our future generations deserve."
Serving the people of Washington
Transparency, education, and how we talk about the work we do is vital. Redesigning and launching Ecology's new website was an early priority for Maia.
"The greatest driver propelling us to transform our 20-year-old website was you, our customer. With more than 1.25 million visitors this past year, the website is our online front door," Maia says. "Our web audience is growing, and we owe them the best possible experience where they can easily find the information they need."
Our new website was built following several rounds of usability research and testing from our various audiences. It meets the highest standards for accessibility and it's now mobile-friendly.
We've added new features, including new e-comment forms so you can more easily respond during public comment periods on proposed actions.
Our website is also still a work in progress. We launched the site in January 2018 with what we believed was our most critical content. And we will continue building it with other high priority content in the weeks and months ahead.
More about Maia — her bio
- Before becoming director in 2013, Maia served as deputy and then manager of Ecology's Water Resources Program. While there, she helped sustainably manage the state's water supplies for communities, farms, forests, and fish.
- She served 15 years as Assistant Attorney General focusing on complex water law and a broad array of other environmental legal issues.
- Maia served as a special assistant to the president for civil rights and legal affairs at The Evergreen State College.
- As a graduate of The Evergreen State College, she continued her education and earned her law degree from the Arizona State University College of Law.
- Maia was named a "Rising Star" by Washington Law and Politics magazine five years in a row (2004-2008).
- She is a proud mom to 14-year-old daughter Talia. And she is thankful for her wonderfully supportive husband Bill Kallappa.