Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

Managing the Watershed

Strategic Planning

Our overarching goal in the watershed is to use both protection and restoration to have a future watershed that:

  • produces high-quality drinking water
  • contains high-quality, well connected habitats for species of concern
  • supports natural levels of biodiversity characteristic of healthy ecosystems
  • is resilient in the face of the changing nature of risks and threats in the regional environment
  • is managed with improved knowledge and effectiveness over time through the practice of adaptive management
second-growth conifer

Chester Morse Lake is surrounded by second-growth conifer forest.

To guide us toward achieving this goal, we have developed a strategic planning framework for all our restoration and protection projects in the watershed. First, we articulated our restoration and management philosophy (Restoration Philosophy, pdf), developing guidelines and recommendations for implementing the philosophy. We then created a synthesis framework (pdf) in which we developed a landscape template to guide the protection and restoration of key ecosystems, communities, and species at all scales, and to serve as a benchmark for planning and evaluation.

Active restoration in upland forest (Upland Forest Habitat Restoration Strategic Plan, pdf ), riparian habitats (Riparian Restoration Strategic Plan, pdf), and aquatic habitats (Aquatic Restoration Strategic Plan, pdf) are guided by individual strategic plans, which describe the key ecological processes, anthropogenic history, and current conditions for each of the three habitat types. The plans describe the uncertainties, threats, and risks associated with both active and passive restoration in the habitats. They lay out a prioritization scheme for active restoration, standards and guidelines for planning and implementing projects, and methods of adaptive management.

Finally, all research and monitoring in the watershed is guided by our Watershed Monitoring and Research Strategic Plan (pdf). This plan provides a framework, approach, standards, guidelines, and recommendations for all research and monitoring activities within the watershed.