Olympic Natural Resources Center

ONRC was created in 1989 to serve as the regional platform for research on sustainable alternatives that would advance forest and marine resource protection and utilization. The marine component was detailed in enabling legislation (RCW 43.30. 810). The formation of the College of the Environment on June 12, 2008 created the administrative structure to realize the initial intent of the legislature – to encourage and facilitate cross disciplinary research.

As a “place based” program with a defined service delivery area, ONRC is uniquely positioned to provide students and faculty with the means to test hypotheses and conduct studies in the context of a place where natural resource management matters a great deal.

Our challenges are of the same character as earlier controversies: reconciliation of local economic needs with protection of important ecosystems. Some of the “last best” landscapes in the state are in the Olympic Region. Coastal communities of the Olympic Region continue to be more reliant on exploitation of natural resources than are urban communities. The fundamental challenge remains the same: to identify options and opportunities to integrate the production of commodities with the preservation of ecological values.

ONRC’s Aquatic Program has pursued projects that exemplify ONRC’s Criteria for Project Selection. Our projects: focus on under-served interests; bring to the table pragmatic problem-solving; are of high priority; are of ecological importance; offer potential for building bridges among constituents; serve long-term and short-term goals; and make a noticeable difference.

Strategic Priorities