Video contest highlights importance, awareness of stormwater collection


The Stormwater Partners of Southwest Washington is hosting a contest where contestants can submit a creative video to explain why collecting stormwater is important. 

The top prize is $500 and there is also a $100 honorable mention prize as well.

Eric Lambert, the clean water outreach specialist for Clark County Public Works, said he hopes the contest will lead to greater awareness on the necessity of stormwater collection for the environment.

“The purpose of the contest is to be able to engage students and help them create messages for the community around clean water practices, protecting our water resources, and giving them an opportunity to showcase their creativity,” said Lambert. “Everyday activities that we all participate in can have impacts to stormwater, so when people are aware of the little things they might be able to do differently, whether it’s picking up litter, picking up after your pet, handling chemicals and fertilizers on yards … they can add up to make a big difference.”

The number one cause of water pollution currently is “non-point source pollution,” Lambert said, which include things that are left on hard surfaces and in yards when it rains. The runoff collects the pollutants from the items on its way to the nearest stream. 

The idea for the video contest mimics another one from The River Starts Here, which is a Portland Metro coalition that focuses on the importance of stormwater. 

Since younger people are often surrounded by video content, Lambert said he’s excited to see what the contestants come up with. 

“It’s been a joy,” he said. “It’s also been a pleasure for the judges seeing the videos come in.”

Since Washington state was once surrounded by Douglas fir forests, Lambert said the trees acted like a “big sponge,” but today he said the environment has been altered by the addition of homes and communities. 

“We had to move (the water) along as quickly as we could,” he said. “That’s the way we built our system with a storm sewer. It has a lot of great benefits for building communities but also has some negatives that impact the water quality because all the pollutants get picked up in channels and direct their concentration into the water.”

Prior to making a video, Lambert wants the participants to read the resources the Stormwater Partners of Southwest Washington have on their website. From there, he encourages them to pick a topic they are passionate about and urges them to be creative throughout the process. He said there are a number of ways to make the videos, so “if one focuses on something they’re passionate about, it’ll be a great video.”

One of the topics to choose from is “community storytelling.” Through that topic, students can tell their story about their connection to water, which could include going fishing with their grandparents or focusing on the importance of water in their life. 

“Telling those stories, reaching back and looking into your heart is where you’re going to find some great content for your storytelling,” Lambert said.

Other options could include a video on types of transportation that reduce pollution or the mantra of “leave no trace behind.” 

Last year, the winning video was called “Better Habits for Better Habitats,” which focused on being more mindful when hiking on trails or taking care of the environment. 

The honorable mention was called “The Grattix Box,” which talked about using a grattix box to collect the different pollutants that can accumulate in stormwater.

Information and rules about the contest can be found online at