The Center for Urban Waters is a research center, a collaboration, and a facility. It is a community of environmental scientists, analysts, engineers and policymakers developing creative and sustainable solutions to restore and protect urban waterways. The unique intellectual environment brings together organizations with complementary missions and individuals with diverse skills to develop innovative approaches to environmental restoration as well as protection and sustainable urban development.

Research at the Center for Urban Waters is led by the University of Washington Tacoma. The LEED Platinum facility on the east side of Tacoma’s Thea Foss Waterway was developed by the City of Tacoma. City staff in the building work on critical environmental services to the citizens of the community. The collaboration also includes the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency coordinating efforts to restore and protect Puget Sound.

The impact

Activities at the Center for Urban Waters will shape our public and environmental health by:

  • Providing a research facility that meets the highest levels of sustainable building design.
  • Assessing and managing stormwater discharges to protect the environment.
  • Uncovering industrial and non-industrial pollutants within our community.
  • Addressing future cleanup efforts in affected areas and identifying sources of contamination.
  • Restoring and maintaining important habitat resources.
  • Keeping local industry aware of their environmental impact on our community.

By observing and responding to the maintenance, cleanup and development of our water systems, the Center for Urban Waters is strengthening a vital ecosystem that benefits residents, visitors, and plant and animal life in Puget Sound.