Since 1984, Puget Soundkeeper has…

  • Completed over 1600 patrols of Puget Sound waterways
  • Facilitated development of more than a dozen new or improved water treatment facilities in the Puget Sound region
  • Taken legal action against more than 170 Clean Water Act violators, never losing a case
  • Certified 71 Clean Marinas through the Clean Marina Washington program
  • Created the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund and awarded over $5.16 million in settlement funds to Puget Sound restoration projects
  • Engaged over 18,000 volunteers in cleanups, outreach events and advocacy
  • Removed more than 145,000 pounds of marine debris from Puget Sound waterways
  • Set national precedent for industrial stormwater treatment, green infrastructure and low-impact development regulations

Mission:

Soundkeeper’s mission is to protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound.

Soundkeeper staff and trained volunteers are on the water every week by boat and kayak, monitoring the health of the Sound and its tributaries . As a major environmental stakeholder, Soundkeeper actively engages government agencies and businesses working to regulate pollution discharges from sewage treatment plants, industrial facilities, construction sites, and municipalities. Soundkeeper also enforces the Clean Water Act of 1972, using the power granted to citizens to sue under provisions of the Act to bring egregious polluters into compliance with the law.

As one of the nation’s leading citizen advocates, Soundkeeper has a nearly 100% success record and has filed over 170 cases. Soundkeeper’s settlements typically result in accelerated compliance measures including new implementation of, or upgrades to, stormwater and wastewater treatment systems. A 1993 settlement with the City of Bremerton is directly attributable to the Dyes Inlet shellfish beds reopening for the first time in 40 years. On average, Soundkeeper’s settlements control over 120 million gallons of stormwater annually. 

To date, Soundkeeper’s enforcement team has awarded over $5.16 million to third party restoration, education and water quality mitigation projects to heal the damage in the affected watershed and provide an incentive for future compliance. Soundkeeper does not receive any settlement money from Clean Water Act cases.

Although we achieve our mission by stopping pollution, we know that much of Puget Sound’s problems can be stopped at the source by engaging the people and businesses in our community – after all, Puget Sound is where we all work, live and play.

How we work:

Monitoring and EnforcementSoundkeeper actively patrols the waters of Puget Sound and monitors for pollution. We also enforce the Clean Water Act through legal action.

Policy and Civic EngagementWe pursue the Clean Water Act’s goals through active engagement with business, government agencies and Puget Sound communities.

Stewardship and Education: Soundkeeper is committed to stopping pollution at the source. We partner with businesses to help reduce pollution and host cleanup and education events to involve community members in caring for Puget Sound.

History:

Founded in 1984 as the Puget Sound Alliance (PSA), Soundkeeper was the first grassroots organization to focus exclusively on protecting the marine environment of Puget Sound. Initially, PSA fought successfully for secondary wastewater treatment at West Point in Seattle and a Puget Sound Management Plan. In 1990, following the successful model of the Hudson Riverkeeper in New York, PSA launched the 6th licensed Waterkeeper program in the nation when it hired its first Puget Soundkeeper and began patrolling the waters of the Sound by boat.

Renamed Puget Soundkeeper Alliance (Soundkeeper) in 1992, the organization was a founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, a national movement founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Today, Waterkeeper Alliance and its member organizations are the fastest growing environmental movement in the world with over 300 licensed Waterkeepers and affiliates on six continents.

We’re working to protect the waters of Puget Sound now and for future generations.
Kayakers look for trash at a cleanup.

Why? Because Puget Sound is in trouble.

  • Declining fish populations and die-offs in Hood Canal
  • PCBs in marine mammals
  • health warnings about Puget Sound salmon and shellfish
  • beaches closed to shellfish harvest
  • Superfund cleanups
    …and the list goes on.

Here’s what you can do

  • Do your part to stop pollution: drive less (bike, walk, bus, carpool), fix vehicle oil leaks, rely on natural yard care rather than chemicals, report pollution when you see it happen, wash your car on your lawn or at a commercial car wash, and try to avoid single-use plastics and excessive packaging.
  • Become informed about pollution.
  • Join our team as a volunteer.
  • Give what you can to help protect Puget Sound now and for the future.