Foundations fund stormwater center director at WSU

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

stormwater-research-1-80PUYALLUP, Wash. – The Washington Stormwater Center will hire a full-time director, thanks to funding from The Boeing Company, The Bullitt Foundation and The Russell Family Foundation. 

Located at the Washington State University Research and Extension Center in Puyallup, the center is home to one of the largest low-impact development (LID) labs in the country.

Part of the stormwater research facility at WSU Puyallup.

The director will secure long-term funding and partnerships that will help provide stormwater permit-holders across the state with technical training and science-based solutions to stormwater management challenges. Once posted, the position description will be found at

“Stormwater is the number one pollutant in Puget Sound and a significant contributing source for streams, rivers, bays and lakes all over the country,” said Tanyalee Erwin, assistant director of the center. “It’s a huge environmental concern and we are extremely grateful that all three of these foundations are committed to improving water quality.”

Support since center’s inception

The three Pacific Northwest foundations have joined to fund the director’s position as well as the center’s long-range business planning efforts.

stormwater-research-2-450Boeing participated in the formative advisory committee for the center and has continued its support via partnerships as well as cash and in-kind investments. Over the past three years, Boeing has contributed to the business resource program to provide stormwater management training, technical assistance and education to business and industrial stormwater permit managers.

“We have worked with the Washington Stormwater Center since its inception and view this next level of support as essential to grow the center and establish its long-term operational future,” said Liz Warman, director of global corporate citizenship, Northwest region, at Boeing. “The Washington Stormwater Center is critical for protecting water resources for our state and the Northwest region, and we need to ensure its future is sustainable.”

Training critical for environment

The Russell Family Foundation, also a funder from the beginning, has supported research that has documented the positive effects of low-impact development on reducing mortality among aquatic species.

“Research at the Washington Stormwater Center shapes the future of how we live, work and play in this region,” said Richard Woo, foundation CEO. “The knowledge the center is creating about our interactions with the natural environment will influence this generation and the ones to come.”

The Bullitt Foundation has long supported the center’s low-impact development training program, said Neelima Shah, program officer for the foundation

“Washington’s Stormwater Center plays an important role in advancing the transition from traditional hard surface and pipe technology to implementation of natural systems approaches,” Shah said. “As new stormwater permits require the use of LID, where feasible, the Washington Stormwater Center offers critical research and education important to successful implementation throughout our state.”

About the center

The center was established in 2010 at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center in partnership with the University of Washington Tacoma Center for Urban Waters to protect Washington’s waters by addressing critical stormwater pollution issues. The center’s four programs focus on municipal resources, business resources, low impact development and emerging technologies.

Learn more about the center at and


Tanyalee Erwin, Washington Stormwater Center, 253-445-4504,