One of ECOSS’ major areas of work is supporting clean water efforts by sharing resources and stormwater solutions to communities that disproportionately experience flooding and the effects of stormwater pollution. Some of these solutions can include cisterns, grattix boxes, or even larger-scale depaving projects. Angela Ena is a Program Manager at ECOSS who manages Clean Water projects which include Industrial Green Stormwater Infrastructure (also known as GSI) efforts. Angela shared a bit about the projects that are in progress, and her hopes for future GSI work benefitting the health of neighborhoods, communities, and the environment. 

What does Industrial GSI work look like at ECOSS? 

ECOSS has been engaging different property owners to build GSI on commercial properties in a neighborhood known for its poor air quality and low tree canopy coverage. The property owners range from commercial property management companies to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT). 

The Office of Sustainability and Environment and DirtCorps partnered with ECOSS in 2022 to combine engagement efforts. The program is still in a pilot phase as it navigates new territory that has yet to be explored before in this coordinated approach between the City of Seattle and community-based organizations.  

The partnership offers three different stormwater mitigation tier options to property owners depending on the site: 

  • Tier 1 is Low Impact Development (LID) options like planters or grattix boxes 
  • Tier 2 offers a replacement of monocultural plantings with GSI in already existing patches of soil 
  • Tier 3 is a depaved design by MxMLandscape Architecture that is built by DirtCorps.  

Georgetown as an experimental canvas

These GSI projects are intended to create permeable surfaces in a historically riparian area that was paved over during the city’s early development. Georgetown experiences low air quality due to the industrial nature of the neighborhood. The neighborhood also experiences low tree canopy coverage and limited access to greenspaces due to spatial inequities and lack of infrastructural investment. The neighborhood serves as an experimental canvas for the partnership to implement these green infrastructure solutions.  

We hope to create a whole network or corridor of these stormwater mitigation installations with property owners on a single block or two on board. ECOSS has been engaging properties that make for good candidates with large roofs and downspouts, and low tree canopy coverage or permeable surface on their property.

Benefits for community and environment

I’m hoping that these projects not only increase the tree canopy and treat stormwater before it enters the Duwamish and Puget Sound, but also create more habitat – for wildlife and people. Green spaces benefit communities in a myriad of ways, but we’d like for our experimental pilot to successfully start to address some of these.  

At the heart of biophilic design is the goal to connect people to Nature in the cities they live in. Indigenous communities have always been connected to nature in deeply meaningful ways, but in the urban 21st-century context biophilia serves as a useful concept as cities continue to grow and pave over ecosystems. Before the term biophilia was coined by E.O. Wilson, landscape architects like Ian McHarg and Federick Law Olmsted strove to do this through their different projects like Seward and Central Park. ECOSS has partnered with MxMLandscape Architecture to create pockets of Nature wherever possible in a landscape of fragmented and privately owned parcels.  


ECOSS’ grant is funded by the King County Flood Control District. 

For more information about Industrial GSI, or if you are a commercial property owner located in Georgetown interested in learning more about stormwater mitigation options, contact aena@ecoss.org.

To learn more about Clean Water programming at ECOSS, visit our Projects page.

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ECOSS News

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