Seattle, WA – Today, RE Sources and the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT) will join Puget Soundkeeper in expanding the Waterkeeper Alliance in the Puget Sound portion of the Salish Sea.  The expansion of the Waterkeeper Alliance in Puget Sound will enhance efforts to protect, preserve, and restore the waters of Puget Sound and its tributaries by increasing collaboration, partnership, and advocacy between these three organizations.  

DERT and Puget Soundkeeper have begun the Waterkeeper Alliance process of establishing a Puget Soundkeeper Affiliate in the south Sound. Waterkeeper Alliance is a global network of grassroots leaders protecting everyone’s right to clean water.  Puget Soundkeeper is a founding member of the Waterkeeper Alliance and RE Sources, through its North Sound Baykeeper, is an organizational member.

“This expanded alliance between our three groups will provide new opportunities to work together to improve water quality, hold polluters accountable, and reach a wider audience in our efforts to protect and preserve Puget Sound,” said Chris Rilling, Puget Soundkeeper and Executive Director of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.  

“The Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team is very excited about the increased visibility and Sound-wide collaboration this expanded partnership brings,” said Sue Patnude, Executive Director of DERT.  “We welcome the opportunity to partner with Puget Soundkeeper and RE Sources’ North Sound Baykeeper  to continually focus on cleaning and protecting our marine and freshwater ecosystems.”

“We’re excited to have another ally in the Waterkeeper family.  Years of science show that more than ever, we need collaborative, bold efforts up and down Puget Sound if we’re going to have fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for years to come.  This new partnership allows us to protect the health of the entire Sound, from the southernmost inlet by the Washington state capitol up to the Canadian border,” said Eleanor Hines, North Sound Baykeeper.

Since its founding in 1984, Puget Soundkeeper held exclusive jurisdiction to conduct Waterkeeper activities throughout all of Puget Sound and its watersheds.  With over 2,500 miles of shoreline that stretch from the Cascade Mountains in the east to the Olympic Mountains in the west, and from the Canadian border in the north to Mount Rainier in the south, Puget Sound is no small feat to safeguard.  Through the expanded alliance, jurisdiction over Puget Sound will be shared between Puget Soundkeeper, RE Sources, and DERT in specifically designated parts of Puget Sound, also known as WRIAs – Washington Resource Inventory Areas.  Pairing waterways with the organizations that are closest to them increases Waterkeeper presence throughout the Sound, improves the ability of the Waterkeeper Alliance to respond to local concerns, provides an opportunity to leverage and share resources that strengthen local clean water efforts, and enhances the Alliance’s collective ability to hold polluters accountable.

Enhanced Jurisdictions

Under the expanded Waterkeeper Alliance in Puget Sound:

RE Sources’ North Sound Baykeeper will maintain exclusive jurisdiction in WRIA 1, which includes the Nooksack watershed, Lake Whatcom and portions of the Sumas River south of the Canadian border, and any other watersheds north of the Samish River watershed north to the Canadian border.

Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team will have exclusive jurisdiction in WRIA 13.  This encompasses central Thurston County, including the Deschutes River watershed and other smaller Budd Inlet direct tributaries; the east ½ of Eld Inlet, including McLane Creek and Green Cove Creek; Henderson Inlet watershed, including Woodland and Woodard Creeks; and the area draining directly to the Nisqually Reach.

Puget Soundkeeper will maintain exclusive jurisdiction in all remaining WRIAs connected to Puget Sound.

Exclusive jurisdiction refers to each organization’s authority to exercise primary decision-making and control in all matters related to Waterkeeper activities in their organization’s respective area of jurisdiction.

Alliance Activities

The expanded Waterkeeper Alliance in Puget Sound will increase local and regional engagement in and clean water activities throughout the Sound.  These activities include:

  • Actively patrolling the watershed within the defined geographic areas of jurisdiction by boat, vehicle, air, and foot, as appropriate and necessary.
    • Monitoring national and state pollutant discharge elimination system permits (NPDES or SPDES in the U.S.), Washington State Wastewater discharge permits, discharge monitoring reports, and shoreline development permits.
    • Investigating sources of water pollution.
    • Undertaking legal actions to protect and restore the watershed within their respective jurisdictions.
    • Responding to calls for assistance, information, and action from the community, agencies, and decision makers regarding water quality.
    • Conducting watershed clean-ups and restoration programs.


Puget Soundkeeper, formed in 1984 as the 6th Waterkeeper organization in the U.S., is dedicated to preserving and protecting the waters of Puget Sound.  To advance this mission, Soundkeeper works to strengthen and defend the Clean Water Act and improve water quality through monitoring and enforcement, advocacy and civic engagement, and outreach and education.

RE Sources’ North Sound Baykeeper was formed in 1999 as the 25th Waterkeeper organization in the U.S.  RE Sources has a long history of reducing pollution in local waters that endanger communities, cleaning up beaches, training volunteer community scientists, conducting on-the-water pollution patrols, and monitoring the health of North Puget Sound.  

Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team was founded in 2009 to advocate for the removal of Olympia’s 5th Avenue Dam and the full restoration of the Deschutes Estuary.  As part of this effort, DERT also advocated for the protection of the Deschutes Estuary and conducted community education on its importance.  In June 2020, DERT and Puget Soundkeeper received a grant from the Rose Foundation’s Puget Sound Stewardship & Mitigation Fund to provide training and logistical resources in support of DERT’s new role as a Waterkeeper organization in South Puget Sound. 

Plans and coordination of expanded Waterkeeper Alliance event in Puget Sound events are currently underway.  The official launch of these activities across Puget Sound is scheduled for the fall of 2020.


Media Contacts:

Chris Rilling, Puget Soundkeeper, (206) 297-7002

Eleanor Hines, RE Sources’ North Sound Baykeeper, (360) 733-8307 ext. 213

Sue Patnude, Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team, (360) 470-0806