The Clear Choices for Clean Water program is undergoing a shift in funding sources and re-organization.
We look forward to re-opening the program and offering these resources to improve water quality to all of Thurston County in 2020.

Where Pollution is Concerned, Every Home is Waterfront Property

No matter where you live, you are part of a watershed – an area of land that drains to a stream, lake, wetland or other body of water. In northern Thurston County, water from your property drains to one of the creeks or lakes leading to Puget Sound.

Nisqually ReachPuget Sound’s Water Quality Affects Us All

Puget Sound needs your help! It may look clean on the surface, but many of its problems are not visible. During recent tests, 1/3 of the sites in Henderson Inlet failed to meet federal water quality safety standards for fecal coliform bacteria. High levels of bacteria in the water can make you and your family sick from swimming, fishing, beach-combing, or boating. Not to mention, poor water quality takes a toll on the health and diversity of the natural environment.

In our urban watersheds, rain runoff from homes, roads, farms, and businesses is a significant source of pollution. As storm-water travels over the surface of the land, it picks up bacteria from animal waste and failing septic systems as well as many other types of pollutants. While we can’t control the rain, we can control what is carried along by runoff from our properties. The Clear Choices for Clean Water program works to identify some simple things you can do to improve water quality and protect your family’s health, while providing tools that make those changes easy to integrate into daily life.

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Water Pollution is Taking a Toll

The economic and environmental impacts from fecal coliform pollution can be devastating and long lasting. Washington is the leading producer of farmed shellfish, manila clams, and blue mussels in the United States. There are currently five commercial shellfish growers in the Henderson Inlet and Nisqually Reach.

In October 2001, the Washington State Department of Health restricted shellfish harvesting because levels of fecal coliform were too high. These restrictions triggered the formation of the Shellfish Protection Districts for and highlighted the need for these kinds of programs.
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The Choice is Clear

Even if you don’t eat, grow, or harvest shellfish, water quality affects you. When shellfish grown in clean water can again be safely harvested in our watersheds, we’ll know our actions are making a difference!

Clear Choices for Clean Water is undergoing a shift in funding sources and service areas. Beginning in 2020, Clear Choices will be open to all of Thurston County residents via funding from a Near Term Action project with the Puget Sound Partnership. This program is part of educational outreach efforts to help restore and protect water quality and shellfish tidelands, and we’re excited to expand it to all of Thurston County.


Nora White
Education & Outreach Specialist
(360) 754-3588, ext. 105