Aquatic Ecosystem Program

The goal of the Aquatic Ecosystem program of the Northwest Fund for the Environment is to protect and restore the extensive network of fresh and saltwater ecosystems in the State of Washington and the native species that inhabit these ecosystems. Our program is divided into two areas of emphasis:

Freshwater ecosystems including rivers, streams, wetlands, and riparian areas. We are concerned with water quality, water quantity and connectivity issues as they affect aquatic ecosystems.

Saltwater ecosystems of Puget Sound and the Washington Coast, including estuaries and saltwater shoreline areas. The NWFE seeks to fund work advancing these objectives:

Freshwater Ecosystems

  • Improve implementation of water quality standards throughout Washington State, including the protection of waterways  from both point and non-point sources or the weakening of existing environmental regulations.
  • Establish and protect adequate instream flow levels statewide to provide healthy habitat for native species.
  • Enhance connectivity of freshwater systems – both instream and with other functioning water bodies and sources.
  • Prepare and plan for changes in water availability attributed to climate change.

Saltwater Ecosystems

  • Reduce and respond to threats to marine resources from external harms such as oil spills, invasive species and climate change impacts.
  • Protect marine and estuarine habitat and native species from pollution or weakening of existing environmental regulations.
  • Support and promote marine resource management that is sustainable, transparent, community-driven and ecosystem-based in its approach.

Strategy Emphasis

The NWFE places emphasis on these strategies to advance our objectives:

  • Monitor the implementation and application of existing laws.
  • Promote public policies that enhance, protect or restore aquatic ecosystems.
  • Litigate to enforce and defend key laws e.g., Clean Water Act (CWA), Shoreline Management Act (SMA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as they apply to these areas.
  • Participate in ongoing public processes and negotiations.
  • Inform and engage the public in the stewardship and protection of aquatic ecosystems and resources