Coastal Water

For questions or to get involved

(360) 461-0799

About Us

The Coastal Watershed Institute (CWI) is a 501c3 non-profit organization formed in 1996 by a small group of resource managers and scientists that share a commitment to northwest ecosystems. Our goal, through CWI, is simple: promote partnerships that foster understanding protection, and long term wise management of our natural ecosystems.

CWI achieves protection of intact and critical natural ecosystems thru linking science, mentoring our next generation of scientists and managers, and citizen partnerships. Over our careers we’ve learned that -without exception- what is good for the environment is good for community. We’ve learned that saving what we have is so much better for the ecosystem and economy-so we emphasize protection. As senior scientists, collectively we have hundreds of years of experience managing and researching the natural history of this region. We know that most of the community-which is growing rapidly- want to be wise stewards if they have the tools to do so. So CWI fosters community and college student education on wise natural resource management. We know that preservation and restoration can take decades-and that bureaucratic and political challenges (sometimes significant) are not reasons to quit. Our work is to link senior scientists, managers, and citizens to motivate for the best, not just the easiest, management actions and solutions. We engage college students, citizens, and landowners on the ground to understand how our natural ecosystems function a nd how to protect them. We specifically bring science to management in a rural, and sometimes extremely conservative, but ecologically critical region of the Pacific Northwest.

Over the last quarter century CWI has supported applied research of nearshore habitats of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, led challenging but important public forums on net pens, tsunami debris, and coal export issues. We’ve partnered with the Olympic National Park and Olympic Peninsula Tribes cataloging historic use and contemporary priorities for nearshore cultural natural resources. We’ve coordinated scientific and compelling photos of the nearshore restoration response of the Elwha dam removals. In the next decade CWI will dedicate it’s leadership in ecosystem management and research

to furthering the knowledge-based long term ecosystem management of our coastal watersheds through partnering with local and regional co-managers in nearshore restoration, monitoring, and research, public outreach, and promoting cultural resources as a natural resource management tool. Our work will focus on scientific pursuits, scientific mentoring, environmental advocacy, protection through preservation, and implementing ecosystem based restoration priorities. Our top priorities will include:
  1. Developing and implementing nearshore restoration and protection action plans for the central Strait of Juan de Fuca that focus on the Twin Rivers, Salt Creek, Elwha, and Dungeness nearshore;
  2. ‘Living on the Edge’. A campaign to protect and restore feeder bluffs-the engines of our critical northwest nearshore ecosystems.
  3. Elwha Nearshore Restoration. Documenting and promoting the nearshore restoration needs to complete the world scale restoration event of the Elwha dam removals, inlcuding coordinating the Elwha Nearshore Consortium, and;
  4. Ecosystem Services of the Nearshore. A collaborative project with Earth Economics, Clallam County, and partners to define, for the first time, ecosystem services of the nearshore, and how much money citizens can save if they leave intact ecosystems intact.
  5. Continuing long term nearshore research and community outreach to define and promote nearshore ecosystem services at the local and regional scale.

As the population of the northwest grows and our economy continues to struggle the need for CWI is greater than ever.

CWI’s current momentum, strong local network, and the burgeoning technical needs in the management arena (including the need to fill basic scientific and cultural data gaps) dictate our direction. We are excited about our role, as both local stewards and regional scientists, in the future of ecosystem management.

We hope that you will join us.




NOAA/AFS Nancy Foster Award for Habitat Conservation (Awarded)


Seattle Aquarium Conservation Science Award (Awarded)
American Fisheries Science Conservation Organization of the Year (Awarded)
Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Conservationist of the Year Award: (Awarded)


Environmental Law Institute (Science category): (Runner up)


Peter Benchley Ocean Awards (Ocean science and Heros of the Sea categories): (Nominated)

Environmental Law Institute (Science category): (Nominated)


Sea Doc Society Salish Sea Science Award (Nominated)


Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Conservationist of the Year Award: (Awarded)


Puget Sound Partnership Puget Sound Hero Award (Nominated)