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Our strategic priorities

Ecology is Washington’s environmental protection agency. 

Our goals are to:

  • Protect and restore land, air, and water.
  • Prevent pollution.
  • Promote healthy communities and natural resources.
  • Deliver efficient and effective services.

To achieve these goals, we engage in strategic planning under the direction and guidance of the Legislature and Governor's Office. Our planning processes take a broad and holistic approach that focuses not only on what we do, but how we do it.

Our approach is both aspirational and practical. Read on to learn about our mission, vision, foundational principles, strategic priorities, and tactical objectives.

Who is Ecology?

Our mission is to protect, preserve, and enhance Washington’s land, air, and water for current and future generations. Our vision is to foster innovative partnerships to sustain healthy land, air, and water in harmony with a strong economy.

We were founded in 1970 as the first agency in the nation dedicated to environmental protection. Nearly 70 percent of our budget is passed through to local communities to pay for projects that benefit the environment and the economy.

The continuing challenges of our time, and the speed of technological changes, call for innovation. We continuously seek input and listen carefully. Our decisions are based on public input and sound science. 

Foundational principles

Collaboration and coordination — All of our work involves local partners. We value our working relationships with tribes and our partnerships with local governments, state and federal agencies, citizen groups, and the business community.

Data-driven decision making — We are a science and principle-driven organization. We recognize high-quality data and information to be the critical components of holistic decision-making. Our data collection, management, integration, and analysis practices require high levels of integrity and security.

Delivering data and information for the people of Washington — We communicate with and deliver information to a diverse public audience. We consider usability, accessibility, and environmental justice components so those without resources can access information. This is especially apparent with web-based delivery of information and in our management of data and records.

Learning from experience — We monitor project and program effectiveness and incorporate analytic and mapping tools to integrate on-the-ground actions with observed environmental outcomes. This effectiveness monitoring improves our management strategies and service to the public.

Strategic priorities

Reduce and prepare for climate impacts — We must prepare for the future. This means understanding the impacts from climate change to communities, natural resources, and economy. We need to work together at local, state, and federal levels to protect resources, reduce contributions to climate change, and prepare for increased variability and more frequent extreme conditions. Objectives include:

  1. Reduce carbon pollution.
  2. Increase resiliency of natural and built communities.
  3. Understand impacts to natural systems.
  4. Prioritize drought preparedness.

Prevent and reduce toxic threats — Preventing exposure is the smartest, cheapest, and healthiest way to protect people and the environment. Toxic substances can be found in consumer products and manufacturing processes. Cleaning up existing contamination, managing approved uses, and reducing or eliminating future use reduces threat of exposure. Objectives include:

  1. Improve integration of prevention, permitting, and cleanup efforts.
  2. Strengthen ongoing toxics reduction efforts.
  3. Use monitoring data to inform decisions and prioritize actions.
  4. Increase the visibility of prevention activities.

Deliver integrated water solutions — Integrated water solutions provide a coordinated and collaborative approach to delivering clean, cool water. This approach ensures adequate supplies that meet current and future drinking water needs, commercial and agricultural uses, and sustains fish and the natural environment. Objectives include:

  1. Secure sufficient water for Washington.
  2. Coordinate strategic water project investments.
  3. Address discrepancies between watershed cleanup plans and discharge permits.

Protect and restore Puget Sound — Puget Sound is a jewel of the Pacific Northwest and ensuring its health requires our continued attention. Through science and research, and with our partners, we contribute to understanding, communicating, and addressing the challenges facing Puget Sound. Objectives include:

  1. Increase coordination among funding programs to leverage investments and improve outcomes.
  2. Increase shellfish health through continued support for the Washington Shellfish Initiative.
  3. Protect salmon and salmon habitat.
  4. Accelerate innovative solutions for stormwater infiltration, green infrastructure, and pollution prevention.
  5. Prevent oil spills and enhance response capacity.

Administrative program

Ecology’s environmental programs support our strategic priorities. Our administrative program provides financial, information technology, communications, and human resource services. We work together to achieve the goals of our strategic plan.

Financial management and oversight — Our Financial Services Office provides centralized accounting, payroll, purchasing, and fiscal management. We also provide management oversight to over 50 unique fund sources to help ensure we continue to receive funding for our core mission and strategic priorities.

Human resources — Our Human Resources Office acts as a strategic business partner to our environmental and administrative programs. We recruit great talent to achieve Ecology’s mission. We value engaged and successful employees, a diverse workforce, and a safe and healthy work environment.

Business technology and information management — Our Information Technology Services Office supports the agency’s data-driven decision-making with timely, innovative, high-quality, partner-centric business process and technical support services, provided in a collaborative, transparent, nimble fashion.

Managing Ecology records — Thoughtful and systematic management occurs throughout the life cycle of records and information. Our records management strategy addresses the entire life cycle of records, from creation, through their active phases, and to completion.

Risk management — Ecology evaluates risk on an ongoing basis. Feedback from our Executive Leadership Team and environmental programs is incorporated in our risk planning to ensure alignment with Ecology’s mission and current business activities.

Operation support services — Efficient, well-maintained, and sustainable operations help us conduct our work to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment for current and future generations.

Our commitments

Ecology embraces continuous improvement and organizational excellence. Together, our environmental and administrative programs are dedicated to and support a single and unifying mission: to protect, preserve, and enhance Washington’s environment for current and future generations.

  • Perform our work in a professional and respectful manner.
  • Listen carefully and communicate in a responsive and timely manner.
  • Solve problems through innovative ways.
  • Build and maintain cooperative relationships.
  • Practice continuous improvement.