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Recommendation: 38

Status: Complete

Explore setting minimum standards for local stormwater funding to ensure that all programs have the resources necessary to protect water quality.


Action 1

Develop a better understanding of the funding options for jurisdictions and what would be considered adequate funding.

Action 2

Existing county and city organizations in the Puget Sound region should discuss and identify what funding adequately would support actions to protect water quality.

Implementation Details

A primary barrier to effectively managing stormwater is local governments’ capacity. With too little staff or limited funding, it is unlikely that local governments will be capable of innovating or even implementing requirements expected to be more stringent in the future. In many cases, local governments with the best, most intact natural resources often have the least capacity to protect them.

Local government spending on stormwater programs varies, leaving some programs without adequate funding. Additionally, it can be problematic when stormwater funding is forced to compete with other priorities. We should seek to better understand the funding streams, relative funding rates, and what would constitute adequate funding for different jurisdictions.

It would be beneficial for county and city organizations or workgroups to convene a meeting of jurisdictions in the Puget Sound region to identify what funding levels would be adequate to meet the need to control stormwater, explore funding alternatives, and discuss how to establish a minimum investment. The Washington State Departments of Commerce and Ecology should participate in those discussions. With a better understanding, the State should explore legislation to set minimum standards for local stormwater funding, ensuring that all programs have the resources necessary to protect water quality.

Recent Progress

The Legislature provided funding for water quality enforcement staff at the Department of Ecology (these staff also support, and are reported under, Recommendation 31 and 32). The department is exploring methods that may reduce nutrient and toxic pollution. Newly issued municipal stormwater permits now require smaller jurisdictions to implement local source control.

More details may be found in the progress reports in the resources library.