Photo of ferry at a dockEnvironmental stewardship and sustainability are integral parts of WSDOT's Strategic Plan. One of our agency’s six values challenges us to, “Be resource stewards by supporting economic, environmental and community need.”

We have a team of environmental professionals at Washington State Ferries, which includes biologists, cultural resources specialists, permitting specialists and an industrial hygienist, who ensure compliance with local, state and federal regulations and policies to build trust and reduce risk. We strive for “next” practices rather than "best" practices (pdf 2.16 mb) as we seek to be a recognized leader in our industry and pursue continuous improvement.

At WSF, we are proud to meet and, oftentimes, exceed the high standards set for us by state and agency executive leadership:

Photo of person monitoring for protected species near a terminal construction siteSustainability Action Plan

In January 2019, WSF completed its 2040 Long Range Plan, which includes “sustainability and resilience” as one of four key themes. As part of this plan’s implementation, we launched our first Sustainability Action Plan (pdf 752 kb) on Earth Day 2019. That plan lays out our approach to sustainability and goals for the 2019-2021 biennium. We continue to implement and track these efforts while planning our next plan for the 2021-2023 biennium. Provide feedback on either the current plan or the next plan by sending us an email.

Our Sustainability Action Plan presents six focus areas derived from industry best practices and prioritized based on legislative mandates, executive orders, agency goals and community concerns. These focus areas include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Air quality
  • Biodiversity
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Community impacts and engagement

How are we doing with our efforts in each of these areas?

Green Marine

Green Marine is a voluntary environmental certification program for the North American and European maritime industry. In 2018, WSF became the first U.S. ferry operator to join Green Marine and we received our first verified certification in 2020. We currently serve on several advisory and governance committees helping to strengthen Green Marine’s rigorous performance benchmarking.

How are we doing with our Green Marine performance benchmarking (pdf 11.37 mb)?

Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) ProgramPhoto of orca whales with ferry in the background

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led ECHO Program is an internationally recognized, collaborative effort to reduce the cumulative effects of shipping on at-risk whales in the Salish Sea. WSF was invited to join ECHO’s Advisory Working Group in 2015. We also serve on several of the program’s technical committees.


Developed and managed by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), Envision is a consensus based framework for evaluating the sustainability and resilience of infrastructure. Envision is jointly supported by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Council of Engineering Companies, the American Public Works Association and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University.

The Envision framework allows infrastructure project proponents to ensure that they aren’t just doing the project right, but that they are also doing the right project. WSF has incorporated the Envision framework into the design, construction, and maintenance of its infrastructure projects, and also serves on ISI’s Training and Credentialing Committee for Envision Sustainability Professionals.