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Document Code No.: LUD-12-2-EO
Sponsoring Agency: King County Executive Office
Effective Date: September 4, 2019
Approved: /s/ Dow Constantine
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 161KB)

This order requires and empowers King County Departments to cooperate and coordinate on the effort to achieve the water quality and habitat outcomes established as part of the Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Initiative.

WHEREAS, King County has an obligation to protect and restore clean water and healthy habitat through regional land use decisions, transportation operations, utility management, and pollution prevention and clean-up;

WHEREAS, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks is projecting expenditures of more than $6 billion in the next 10 years to deliver environmental services and it is essential that public dollars are used responsibly to achieve the best outcomes;

WHEREAS, King County supports 2.2 million people and expects to continue to grow rapidly, bringing new and compounding pressures to land and water;

WHEREAS, King County has implemented protective land use policies and active habitat restoration programs, yet continued habitat loss, stormwater pollution, and toxics have resulted in critically endangered orca and declining salmon runs, threatening our shared natural heritage and Tribes’ ability to exercise treaty rights;

WHEREAS, the health and well-being of King County residents depends on clean water and access to green spaces;

WHEREAS, we have to make decisions and act now to protect what we have and recover what has been lost;

WHEREAS, King County is committed to achieving improved water quality and habitat as quickly as possible and wants to make the right investments at the right time in the right places;

WHEREAS, the continued decline of salmon and orca populations creates an urgent situation and the time to accelerate the right actions to improve water quality, habitat, and health outcomes is now;

WHEREAS, King County’s forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, shorelines, estuaries, and marine waters are connected systems that require an integrated and coordinated approach;

WHEREAS, climate impacts are creating a rapidly changing environment that needs a more nimble, resilient, and integrated approach that can address many issues at once;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Dow Constantine, King County Executive (Executive) do hereby order and direct King County Departments to implement the following actions and policies to ensure King County accelerates progress towards and achieves the best water quality and habitat outcomes:

  1. The Department of Natural Resources and Parks, working closely with the Department of Local Services, the Regional Planning section of the Office of Performance, Strategy, and Budget, and the Department of Public Health, shall work by the end of 2020 to develop King County-wide 30-year water quality and habitat goals based on the best environmental outcomes believed possible as part of the Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Strategic Plan.

  2. As part of the Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Strategic Plan development and implementation, the County will examine and challenge laws, regulations, and barriers that prohibit the County from achieving the best environmental results in the near term and long term.

  3. The Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Strategic Plan will be consistent and coordinated with the Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan, understanding that underserved communities disproportionally bear the burden of pollution and degraded habitat, as evidenced by data gathered by King County and validated by engagement with these communities.

  4. The Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Strategic Plan will be consistent and coordinated with the Strategic Climate Action Plan, understanding that shifting climatic conditions will require adaptive approaches to achieve desired environmental outcomes.

  5. The Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Strategic Plan will inform the future direction of and ongoing changes to the King County Comprehensive Plan.

  6. The Clean Water, Healthy Habitat will work to ensure that federally-recognized Puget Sound treaty tribes can meaningfully exercise their treaty rights and lifeways.

  7. Clean Water, Healthy Habitat expectations:

  8. Department and Division Leadership shall

    Articulate how their ongoing efforts contribute to the overall County water quality and habitat goals and progress needed to achieve the targets.

    Report progress at the County-wide scale with consistent measures and definitions for targets every 5 years, with action plans reported on biennially.

    Promote and foster an environment focused on information sharing, collaboration, innovation, and integration to achieve the best water quality and habitat outcomes.

    Identify leads for important work currently not directed by any one department and work to coordinate a consistent County position.

    Be responsible for both service delivery by their individual agencies and joint delivery of Clean Water, Healthy Habitat outcomes in collaboration with other County agencies.

    Managers shall

    Identify actions, policies, and regulations that best achieve outcomes.

    Investigate the range of King County activities taking place in similar geographies in order to identify opportunities to work together and improve outcomes.

    Direct employees to integrate across programs and projects to leverage investments in order to achieve greater environmental and multi-benefit outcomes.

    Consider how their ongoing programs can provide additional water quality and habitat benefits to achieve the stated outcomes.

    Individual Employees shall

    Design their work programs at the watershed and system-scale, as opposed by lines of business, to better link ongoing County work in the same system that is currently managed in isolation.

    Be responsible for bringing ideas forward that improve the outcomes of planned investments.

    Learn from one another to make sure there is process improvement over time.

    Identify current barriers to integration and collaborate to find solutions.

  9. Following the development of clean water and healthy habitat 30-year goals and a roadmap for prioritized investments across departments, King County will work with regulatory agencies, Tribes, local governments, communities, and non-profit partners to achieve the best outcomes.

  10. The Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Strategic Plan will be periodically reviewed and progress will be reported on with necessary updates made to adjust for changing conditions and context.

Dated and effective this 4th day of September, 2019.

/s/ Dow Constantine
King County Executive

/s/ Norm Alberg
Director, Records and Licensing Services Division, Department of Executive Services