Boeing Gives Big to Support Our Work to Clean Up Puget Sound

A new $1.5 million grant from Boeing gives continuing support to our work to tackle the biggest threat to Puget Sound — stormwater pollution.

This grant is crucial support for our work to build a coordinated approach to cleaning up the millions of gallons of polluted runoff that flow off our roads, parking lots and other paved surfaces when it rains. Seventy-five percent of the pollution in the Sound comes from these hard, urban surfaces.

“We’ve known for years that stormwater is the toughest threat to Puget Sound,” said Jessie Israel, Puget Sound Conservation Director for the Conservancy. “We have clear solutions, and this support from Boeing is enabling us to work together for those solutions.”

The grant to the Conservancy builds on an earlier, two-year Boeing grant that enabled the chapter to launch the new City Habitats coalition. Conservation, business, research and local government partners are working together to discover new ways to overcome barriers to effective action in the Puget Sound region.

Depaving project - Volunteers work to build a community garden in Kent, Washington. Volunteers and staff continue to build garden plots with cinderblock and fill soil. Photo © Hannah Letinich.

 “Projects like Seattle’s Swale on Yale or the Fremont neighborhood’s Aurora Bridge Stormwater Project filter polluted stormwater and clean toxins before they reach Puget Sound — and they are doing it at a neighborhood scale,” Israel said. “Removing pavement and planting trees and other shrubbery, as is being done at Holy Rosary School in Tacoma, allows rain to infiltrate the soil, filters air pollution and reduces heat and noise from the adjacent freeway. Research shows that living with nature around us makes us healthier, happier and more productive, and supports safe, thriving communities.

With new funding, the Conservancy will be able to build on this work. Our Washington chapter is developing modeling tools that will enable local communities to identify where projects like raingardens, bioswales, urban trees and other natural infrastructure would have the most effect in reducing toxic runoff into Puget Sound as well as benefiting public health and the nearby neighborhoods.

Make a Difference Day, October 2016. Depave and plant project in Tacoma--this was Planting day. Photo © Michael B Maine.

Conservancy staff will be able to work directly with communities around Puget Sound to provide technical support for planning and implementing on-the-ground stormwater projects, including investing time and resources in community engagement and ensuring multiple voices are at the table when decisions about these projects are made.

Boeing’s commitment goes beyond funding to also encompass Boeing employees volunteering at Puget Sound recovery events and their in-house stormwater experts working with partners to drive stormwater technology innovation.

Learn More About Our Puget Sound Work