Dear Puget Soundkeeper Supporter:

On behalf of the Puget Soundkeeper family, we are writing to let you know that Chris Wilke will transition out of his role on June 15th, 2019.  Chris will be joining our friends at the Waterkeeper Alliance, the international network of Waterkeeper organizations, of which we are a founding member.

We are immensely grateful for Chris and his 16 years of dedicated service – the last nine as your Puget Soundkeeper and Executive Director.  Chris played a critical role in the growth of Puget Soundkeeper,  and we are deeply indebted to him for his tireless efforts to protect and preserve the Puget Sound.

We are also excited for the next chapter of Puget Soundkeeper.  We are going into this transition with confidence, knowing that we are financially strong, have an accomplished and dedicated staff and Board of Directors to guide our journey, and the unwavering support of members, volunteers, and allies like you.

Over the next few months, we will be launching a comprehensive search for our next Puget Soundkeeper and Executive Director.  It is our priority to find the best individual to lead, while ensuring a smooth and healthy transition.

Please join us in thanking Chris for his dedication to Puget Sound, and in wishing him continued success in his new career.

If you have any questions or concerns during this transition process, please reach out to either Chris or me. Chris can be reached at and I can be reached at

Denis Cook
Puget Soundkeeper Board of Directors

Dear Puget Soundkeeper Members and Friends,

After nearly nine years as your Puget Soundkeeper and Executive Director, and after more than 16 years with this phenomenal organization, I will be stepping down from my role here and moving into the Global Advocacy Manager position at our international organization, Waterkeeper Alliance.

With change comes opportunity, and I am excited about the future of Puget Soundkeeper.  Our amazing staff and Board of Directors are working diligently to ensure the transition to a new Puget Soundkeeper and Executive Director is one that strengthens our already successful trajectory.  I look forward to supporting Puget Soundkeeper in any way I can. I hope you will do so as well. Regardless of the place of my employment, I will remain a member of Puget Soundkeeper, and as a lifelong Puget Sound resident, Puget Soundkeeper will ALWAYS be my Waterkeeper.

With your support, we have come so far since our beginnings in 1984, which was well before my time here.  We have had many challenges and victories since then. If you will indulge me, here are just a few that we can celebrate:

  • Through our clean water enforcement work, we settled over 150 Clean Water Act cases to protect our waterways from industrial stormwater and wastewater pollution; generated over $6 million in mitigation funding for third-party restoration and watershed protection projects; and recently settled our long-running case against Seattle Iron and Metals, resulting in over $1 million worth of improvements along the Duwamish River.
  • As part of our growing environmental justice efforts, we worked with tribes and the US-EPA to secure strengthened water quality standards for Washington State based on fish consumption rates – new standards that are 25-times more protective for toxic pollutants. We also launched the Lost Urban Creeks project, an environmental youth empowerment program in partnership with Unleash the Brilliance, to help bring more equity into the next generation of environmental leaders.
  • Under our Pollution Prevention program, we educated tens of thousands of boaters on best practices to prevent pollution; and launched and managed an award-winning statewide Clean Marina program to certify over 80 marinas that meet pollution prevention standards – over one third of marinas in the state.
  • We have led hundreds of education, stewardship, and cleanup events with over 15,000 volunteers to remove over 100,000 pounds of marine debris from our waters, brought awareness to the issue of microplastic pollution through citizen science, outreach, and social media, and monitored salmon mortality due to toxic effects of polluted stormwater runoff in local streams.
  • On the policy front, we have changed the way stormwater is managed and the way land is developed to better protect our waters, securing the most protective stormwater discharge permits in the country for industrial, municipal, and construction sources and establishing new green infrastructure requirements for new and redevelopment projects.  We have also worked with partners and the State of Washington to secure Puget Sound as a federally-recognized No Discharge Zone for boat sewage; and partnered with key allies to pass an Atlantic Salmon net pen ban. This year, we are working with partners on a new single-use plastic bag ban bill that hopefully will pass the legislature this session!

Most of all, I am proud of the amazing team that we have built with your support. I know that they will carry the mission to new heights as we face new challenges in the months and years ahead.

Serving as your Puget Soundkeeper has been the highlight of my professional life. I can’t imagine a greater honor or anything more rewarding than fighting for clean water to protect the natural world and the health of our community. I am so very thankful for the trust and support that you have given to this organization and its important mission.

Yours for the water,

Chris Wilke signature

Chris Wilke