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Posted on: January 3, 2013

Pierce County wins national environmental award

Pierce County recently won a national environmental award for its “Raise the Grade” stream health and stormwater technical assistance programs.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies presented Public Works and Utilities’ Surface Water Management division with its 2013 National Environmental Achievement Award for Innovation in Operations.

“Our staff and watershed partners are working together to ‘raise the grade’ of selected streams and stormwater facilities through these programs for the benefit of residents and the environment,” said Dan Wrye, Public Works and Utilities water quality manager. “It’s rewarding to know the work we do is nationally recognized and resulting in meaningful improvements to our streams and stormwater facilities.”

Since 2008, Pierce County has been “grading” the health of streams and lakes on a scale of A to F. This data is published annually in the Surface Water Health Report Card and posted on the county website. In addition, public and privately-owned stormwater facilities are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 on how well they are working and maintained.

Trends are tracked and used to allocate county resources. Since the county began tracking these trends in 2008, compliance with stormwater requirements and overall watershed health has improved.

In 2012, the stream health data was used to select one stream in each of the four watersheds in Pierce County. The selected creeks were Minter, Spanaway, Swan and Horn Creek.

The county and its watershed partners are working to improve these streams and stormwater facilities within their drainage basin through activities such as increased water quality monitoring, identifying and correcting pollution sources, supporting stewardship efforts, and public outreach. Additional streams will be added to the program in the future.

To learn more about watershed health and the Raise the Grade program, visit www.piercecountywa.org/watershedhealthdata and www.piercecountywa.org/raisethegrade.

Media Contacts:
Dan Wrye, Public Works and Utilities water quality manager(253) 798-4672
(253) 377-8269dwrye@co.pierce.wa.us

Teresa Lewis, Public Works and Utilities education and outreach coordinator
(253) 798-2480tlewis1@co.pierce.wa.us

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