Department of Ecology News Release - January 23, 2024

Ecology names new central Washington region director

David Bowen to oversee regional work spanning water, air quality, cleanup and environmental justice


A man in a blue shirt and navy jacket smiles at the camera. There is snow in the background near green bushes and foggy trees.
Washington Department of Ecology Director Laura Watson selected David Bowen as director of the agency’s Central Region Office.

Bowen has worked for Ecology since 2016, most recently serving as manager of the agency’s Nuclear Waste Program, which oversees cleanup at the Hanford nuclear site. His previous experience also includes private and public sector roles in forestry, planning, renewable energy and economic development. He is a former Kittitas County commissioner and lifelong central Washington resident.

“In both his personal and professional life, David has been committed to working with the people of central Washington. He’s worked to preserve the environment and natural resources of the region, working side-by-side with farmers, ranchers, Tribes and community members to build a vibrant future for our state,” said Watson.

“In this new role, I'm honored to continue serving the community I grew up in. We are facing growing challenges from drought and climate change, and responding to this will be a top priority," said Bowen. "I'm also committed to addressing drinking water contamination in the Lower Yakima Valley and listening to communities in central Washington that have historically gone unheard by state government."

Ecology’s Central Region Office stretches the length of Washington, encompassing Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan and Yakima counties. As Central Region director, Bowen will oversee the state’s regional environmental projects and partnerships with stakeholders, Tribes, and local, state and federal agencies.

The office focuses on critical issues affecting the health, economy and development of the region’s communities and environment. These include meeting water supply needs, reducing wildfire smoke impacts and addressing legacy pesticide contamination. Ecology staff are also supporting efforts to clean up PFAS contamination at the Yakima Regional Training Center and promote ongoing habitat restoration in watersheds throughout central Washington.

Learn more about Ecology’s programs and region offices.

Contact information

Emily Tasaka
Communications Manager
Twitter: EcyCentral