South Sound Clean Water Partners (formerly the Pierce County Shellfish Partners) exists to protect and improve water quality. Established in 2006, the collaboration between Pierce County, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and Pierce Conservation District grew. With more partners and more areas being monitored, it made sense to change the name of the organization.
The Partnership remains committed to preventing shellfish bed closures due to poor water quality and to ensuring that harvested shellfish is safe to eat. The Partnership is also committed to keeping streams and lakes safe for swimming and fishing. Fecal coliform bacteria is the main focus for the Partnership.
High fecal coliform levels have caused Pierce county to establish Shellfish Protection Districts around Burley Lagoon and Rocky, Filucy and Vaughn bays.
For more information, take a look at the Pierce County Shellfish Partners 2020 Strategic Plan. The plan is being implemented in cooperation with Thurston and Mason counties through the South Sound Shellfish Recovery Project.
In Pierce County there are more than 8,400 acres of shellfish growing areas. Washington State Department of Health regularly collects marine water quality samples in these areas to insure shellfish are safe to eat.
The Clean Water Partners published its first Key Peninsula Water Quality Report in October 2017 as an insert in the Key Peninsula News. The report grades water quality in Key Peninsula streams and marine waters. It also includes information on toxic algae levels in local lakes.
The water quality grades were developed by Pierce County based on sampling local streams for many years.
Washington State Department of Health developed the grading method of marine areas for this report.