By Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
PUYALLUP, Wash. – Businesses in the Puget Sound watershed must navigate a complex series of stormwater runoff regulations and permits. But business owners often don’t understand why those regulations exist.
Thanks to a $95,000 grant from the Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship Program, the Washington Stormwater Center will help businesses understand those regulations and why they’re essential to good stormwater management. The center plans to start creating the various outreach projects in January.
“We hear about pollution, but you often can’t directly see it,” said Lisa Rozmyn, business resource program manager at the center. “We’re trying to bring science to a level that businesses can relate to.”
Translating research into practical assistance
The center is a collaboration between Washington State University and the University of Washington. Its mission: protect Washington’s waters through research, innovation and outreach.
The grant is the center’s newest opportunity to blend WSU’s stormwater runoff research with outreach and extend it to the business community in the Puget Sound area, said Tanyalee Erwin, assistant director of the center.
“We were established by the state legislature as a technical, nonpartisan entity to work with both the regulators and the regulated,” she said. “Nobody wants to be told to do something for no reason, especially if it’s expensive or cumbersome.
“We’re leveraging our research to show why stormwater management is important to the health of Puget Sound,” she said.
Understanding business impact
The center has been working with businesses for a few years, but the grant will allow for new forms of communication and outreach, Rozmyn said. That includes hosting webinars, creating animated informative videos and producing a video about the science behind the Puget Sound’s biggest pollution problem: stormwater runoff.
The new outreach tools will explain the “why” behind regulations so businesses are empowered to make better choices and play a role in cleaning up Puget Sound.
“It’s all about using the great science done at WSU and UW, and the credibility we have in this area, and extending it to small businesses to help them understand the impact they can have,” Erwin said.