Environmental Assessment

Our Environmental Assessment Program's mission is to measure, assess, and communicate environmental conditions in Washington. We work to improve the environment for current and future generations through innovative and excellent science and thriving partnerships.

We assess Washington's environment

Scientist in waders and ball cap sits in a raft on a reedy lake taking notes with a pencil on a black clipboard case.

Taking detailed field notes on a lake.

The Environmental Assessment Program is the science arm of our agency. Our scientists measure and analyze environmental conditions. Quality data is our highest priority. We use this data to evaluate and communicate environmental threats and to guide the state’s environmental policy decisions.

We engage in new partnership opportunities whenever possible to collaborate on scientific projects to inform environmental policy. We collaborate with state, federal, tribal, and local partners, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board, local conservation districts, and the state departments of Natural Resources, Health, and Agriculture.

Our scientific services

Scientist in a lab holds a petri dish with a white substance. She touches the dish with a wooden stick.

Precise lab work is integral to scientific studies.

  • Manchester Environmental Laboratory provides governmental laboratory services with a full staff of experienced chemists and environmental scientists.
  • Our Laboratory Accreditation unit ensures that Washington's environmental laboratories conduct analyses according to prescribed methods. They can help you find a lab.

  • Our Quality Assurance program provides a structured and documented framework for our environmental data operations.

Monitoring & assessing air, water, and soil

We monitor air, water, and soil. The data we collect gives us real-time information, and we use it to develop computer models to better understand current conditions and emerging trends. Our science guides our agency’s policy decisions. We also contract our scientific services to other governmental entities.

Freshwater studies

Scientist on a bridge above a river pulls up a rope with a collection of white bottles of water samples.

Routine water sampling helps paint a picture of river health.

Scientist stands at the rail of a big boat reaching for a large cage of tanks, called a CTD.

Marine water monitoring is important for protecting Puget Sound.

​Groundwater assessment


Toxics studies​

Scientist crouches near monitoring well with tubes and generator

Monitoring wells provides data related to impacts from toxic groundwater.

Scientist emerges from a large stormwater outfall with a clipboard and backpack

Research on stormwater sources and outfalls guides pollution solutions.

Scientist squats in creek with long white measuring pole marked with incremental numbers and holds a stream gauge.

Stream assessments inform us about water conditions.

Databases & maps

We have created specialized data collections, many with map interfaces.

Freshwater data

Ecology research boat sits at the marina. A giant ball on a cable sits in the foreground.

We maintain highly technical research and monitoring equipment, including this marine research boat.

Saltwater data

Toxics data