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Surface Water Management
Where Water is Wealth
Thundershower May 9 2014 015.JPG
Sequim's annual Irrigation Festival reminds us of the value of water!

A healthy supply of water has always been of great value to the local community’s economy and well being.  Sequim recognized that “water is wealth” when pioneers built the first irrigation ditches before the turn of the 20th century.  Now, as the 21st century is underway, we have learned how truly vital–and scarce–water can be in certain times and certain places.

Within the City we have several water amenities enhancing our quality of life, including Bell Creek at Gebhardt-Zwicker Park (behind QFC) and Gerhardt Park (S 3rd Ave.),Keeler Park, Johnson Creek beach (John Wayne marina), Carrie Blake Park ponds, and the Haller Fields--irrigated with reclaimed water.  We also enjoy the murmur of irrigation ditches conveying precious irrigation water from the Dungeness River to farms and ranches throughout the watershed all summer.  These same ditches convey stormwater through the City in the rainy season, mostly from County lands uphill of the City limits.

Minor flooding is a nuisance when driving around but other concerns are invisible, such as poor water quality, reduced resilience and inefficiencies.  “Good housekeeping” on a city-scale means protecting and conserving water supplies for the benefit of the community and the environment.  This involves outreach to residents and compliance with federal and state regulations designed to ensure that public resources are safeguarded: excellent water quality in streams, bays and aquifers, and habitat for salmon and other wildlife.

Since 2013, the City has produced the "Stormwater Management Needs Assessment" and adopted its first Storm & Surface Water Master Plan. (Links on left margin.) The "Stormwater Stewardship Project" page provides more information.

Through planning, the City has positioned itself well to negotiate water quality permit requirements with state agencies if that time comes. 

Resources for Building Projects
Handy guidance documents for following the latest stormwater design manual as required by City code:

Guidance and Worksheets for Small Projects

Construction Stormwater Pollution Prevention CHECKLIST

Maintenance CHECKLISTS for installed facilities:
          Catch basin
          Infiltration trench (or pond)
          Wetvault (perforated cistern, drywell)
          Detention pond
          Closed detention (manhole)
          Control structure/flow restrictor (such as inside manhole)
          Biofiltration (vegetated) swale
          Wet vegetated swale
          Wet ponds (series)
          Filter strip
          Bioretention (rain garden)
          Energy dissipator
          Debris barrier (trash rack)
          Permeable pavement
      Sequim Public Works for other facilities.

2012-14 State Stormwater Design Manual

Rain Garden Handbook

Low Impact Development (LID) Resources

Further resources are in development. Let us know if you have a request.

Photo/Video Gallery

"City Habitats" - graphical tour of stormwater in the landscape (Courtesy The Nature Conservancy)

"But it doesn't rain in Sequim!" - video on YouTube (4:30 min.)

Reclaimed Water Drought-Relief Project - video on YouTube (2:20 min.)

Sequim's Water Cycle: A Story Map - a virtual tour of Sequim's water resources (Thanks to volunteer Mark Williams for this creative project!)

Where Water is Wealth  ...the rest of the story - slideshow from Science Café, Feb. 2015

Flooding at Carrie Blake Park on Jan. 5th, 2015 - Google slideshow

Stormwater Stewardship in Sequim - a narrated slideshow (~22 min.)

Finding Fish: Fieldwork in Sequim-area Creeks - video on YouTube (7 min.)

Opportunities for Public Involvement
**Raingardens and More Open House, Thursday, November 10, 2016, 11am to 1pm, Interpretive Center (500 N. Blake Ave.).  (Drop-in)  [Next date TBD]

**The Bell Creek Discovery Tour was launched on Earth Day 2015, to increase awareness of our home-town stream.  Click here for complete information.

**The 2014-16 Stormwater Stewardship project provides updates to this website each month.  Subscribe to e-Notifications for Surface Water Management (sidebar to left) to stay up to date.

**The City's Interpretive Center at the Water Reuse Demonstration Site (500 N. Blake Ave. at east end of Fir Street) has displays and videos on Bell Creek, the Master Planning project, "Low Impact Development" methods for managing stormwater, and many other topics.  The Center is open by appointment and on a limited schedule -- please click on the link above to confirm current operating hours.

**Volunteers are welcome!  The application and information may be found on the City's VOLUNTEER webpage (see link on left bar). 

Also feel free to contact Ann Soule, Resource Manager with Sequim Public Works, for more information, at 360-582-2436 or

Click HERE for a list of local events related to surface water management.