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

We launched our first Sustainability Action Plan 2019-2021 (pdf 752 kb) on Earth Day 2019 as one effort to implement the sustainability recommendations, goals, and actions laid out in our 2040 Long Range Plan.

Our current Sustainability Action Plan: 2021-2023 (pdf 2.1 mb) includes more action-oriented focus areas and applies the goal-setting tool of “Objectives and Key Results” to set “challenging ambitious goals with measurable results.” This is a change from our previous Plan, which helped to set a baseline for our subsequent efforts. As with the previous version, we consider the Plan to be a “living document” that will guide our sustainability efforts. Provide feedback on our current Plan by sending us an email.

Green Marine

Green Marine is a voluntary environmental certification program for the North American and European maritime industry. In 2018, we 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. We were invited to join ECHO’s Advisory Working Group in 2015. We also serve on several of the program’s technical committees.

Whale Report Alert System

We use Ocean Wise’s Whale Report Alert System (WRAS) to provide our crews with accurate and updated location information for large marine mammals and to report sightings to relay to other mariners. Over the past few years, we’ve been one of the system’s top whale reporters (pdf 557 kb), directly helping to protect whales.


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. We have 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.