Stormwater Management Plan

The Water All Around Us – Surface and Groundwater Programs

Clean, abundant water resources are vital to Vancouver’s high quality of life. All of us are responsible for protection and management of the water all around us – surface and ground water, streams and aquifers.

The City of Vancouver provides engineering direction and technical expertise in the planning, review and design of efficient stormwater systems. We promote clean water practices to protect, preserve or improve surface water and groundwater resources.

Protecting our community water resources, complying with permit regulations

Vancouver’s Surface Water Management Program is the core administration for coordinating activities required by the federal Clean Water Act and the City’s Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit for Western Washington issued by the Washington Department of Ecology. The City’s stormwater ordinances and related codes comply with the City’s NPDES permit. Our General Requirements supplement and clarify the Western Washington Stormwater Manual to provide guidance for and tailor to local conditions.

You can now view the City of Vancouver’s 2023 Stormwater Management Plan and the list of elements to Vancouver’s Surface and Groundwater Management program, including information about changes to the City’s Municipal Codes relating to Stormwater Management, as required to meet the Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit for Western Washington, issued by the state Department of Ecology. Public review is encouraged. Written comments may be submitted by email to Questions? Please call Vancouver Public Works at 360-487-7130 and reference the Stormwater Management Plan.

Watershed Health Assessment

The Burnt Bridge Creek and Columbia Slope watersheds represent the core area of the City of Vancouver’s watershed management efforts. Learn more here:

Policies and NPDES – Western Washington Municipal Stormwater Permit

The Washington State Department of Ecology first issued the Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit in January of 2007. Five counties and 81 cities in Western Washington, including the City of Vancouver, must follow the guidelines in this permit to manage stormwater before it discharges to surface water.

The Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit stems from the federal Clean Water Act and shares its intent to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation’s waters. It combines requirements from the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Permit program and the State of Washington Water Pollution Control Law (RCW 90.48).

The City of Vancouver is committed to protecting water resources and complying with permit requirements across all city programs.

Permit requirements fall under five basic categories; public education and outreach, public involvement and participation, illicit discharge detection and elimination, the control of runoff from development, and pollution prevention. The NPDES Permit also requires annual updates.

The NPDES Permit requires development and documentation of a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP). Documentation of this program must be organized like the permit and updated annually. The permit also requires completion and submittal of an Annual Report to document how the City is complying with each section of the permit.

Below you will find the City of Vancouver’s NPDES Annual Report, including the Stormwater Management Program (SWMP), which have been submitted to the Washington Department of Ecology as required. To help you better view and find information of interest to you, the various elements of the report are listed below as separate files. Please note: Copies of annual reports for 2007 to 2016 are available from the Surface Water Management group at 360-487-7130 or upon request.


The City of Vancouver is creating a Stormwater Management Action Plan or SMAP. This Action Plan will help the City address pollution from urban runoff (stormwater) into our rivers and streams. Stormwater is the leading cause of water pollution in Washington. There are many actions we can take to better manage stormwater pollution impacts.

The goal of Vancouver’s Stormwater Management Action Plan process is to protect and improve water quality for our community and enhance the natural environment while meeting future growth needs.

Why is this important?

The Stormwater Management Action Plan will allow the City of Vancouver to focus on stream health and improve livability in the areas of our City that are most impacted by urban runoff. The Action Plan focuses on actions the City can take such as improving water quality, reducing flooding, restoring native habitat, increasing access to open space areas and adding tree canopy to reduce runoff and protect habitat from increasing temperatures.

What is stormwater and how can it impact water quality?

When it rains or snows in urban areas, water often picks up pollutants as it flows toward creeks, rivers and lakes. This potentially polluted runoff is called stormwater. Click on the graphic at the bottom of this page to view some common sources of contamination include car washing (1), oil leaks (2), spills from activities conducted outdoors (3), pesticides and fertilizers (4), litter (5), pet waste (6), and leaves and yard waste (7). Click picture to enlarge. 

How does stormwater harm waterways?

Most storm drains lead directly from streets and urban areas to local waterways. If stormwater is not properly collected and treated, it can impact local water quality and wildlife habitat. Pollution in local waterways can harm fish and animals as well as people who swim and play in or near the water. Water quality issues can also impact the local economy.

How will the Action Plan benefit our community?

The Action Plan will help support our Vancouver community members by prioritizing investments in projects and solutions that:

Vancouver is working to keep waterways clean

The City of Vancouver is already working to improve our local waterways and prevent polluted stormwater from harming water quality and wildlife. Some of the City’s stormwater programs include:

Next steps

The City completed a Receiving Water Assessment and identified the Burnt Bridge Creek watershed to develop the Stormwater Management Action Plan. The Burnt Bridge Creek watershed will be the focus of the City’s Action Plan, and we’ve recently asked for input to help identify what is important to you. Responses submitted during December 2022 and January 2023 will help in the development of the Stormwater Management Action Plan. We appreciate all who completed the survey and shared your ideas regarding Burnt Bridge Creek.

Learn more about what the City of Vancouver is doing and how to get involved


 Receiving Water Assessment – August 2022