Restoring Washington's Waterways

As steward of 2.6 million acres of state-owned land beneath Washington’s lakes, rivers, marine waters and estuaries, DNR has a unique role to play in the effort to ensure healthy waterways. The Aquatic Restoration Program works to restore ecological quality and function to native aquatic habitats for their ecological values, for the benefit of the people, plants, and animals that live there. DNR’s Aquatics division achieves this by restoring, enhancing, creating and protecting healthy ecological conditions in freshwater, saltwater, and estuarine systems through partnerships with agencies and organizations across Washington.

DNR’s Aquatic Restoration Program has carried out restoration projects across the state, removing toxic debris, re-vegetating riparian zones and restoring natural functions to estuaries and nearshore environments that are crucial for many wildlife species.  Capitalizing on partnership opportunities allows DNR to move forward with successful projects in the three focus areas below.


The above images show how DNR's Restoration program helps communities restore nearshore environments by removing derelict structures like this old dock at Barlow Bay on Lopez Island. Photo by Jordanna Black/DNR

DNR has been supporting and leading restoration projects throughout Washington State to complete restoration of river flood plans, estuaries, bedlands, and shorelines.  Some of these partnerships have included removing bulkheads, constructing engineered log jams, planting eelgrass, and removing barriers to reconnect estuaries to Puget Sound. More...

Removal of creosote-treated wood 

Since 2004, DNR has been leading efforts throughout Puget Sound to remove creosote-treated debris and derelict structures from our marine and estuarine waters. These creosote-treated materials continue to leach chemical compounds into beach and marine sediments causing toxic conditions for organisms that live in and use these areas. More...

Debris Removal

Tons of debris floats across and sinks in Washington’s waterways every year. The Aquatic Restoration Program works to remove debris that ends up on shorelines and bedlands to eliminate the hazards it creates for people and improve habitat for species that rely on healthy aquatic lands. More...