ABSTRACT: For 20 years, King County, Washington, has implemented progressively more demanding structural and nonstructural strategies in an attempt to protect aquatic resources and declining salmon populations from the cumulative effects of urbanization. This history holds lessons for planners, engineers, and resource managers throughout other urbanizing regions. Detention ponds, even with increasingly restrictive designs, have still proven inadequate to prevent channel erosion. Costly structural retrofits of urbanized watersheds can mitigate certain problems, such as flooding or erosion, but cannot restore the predevelopment flow regime or habitat conditions. Widespread conversion of forest to pasture or grass in rural areas, generally unregulated by most jurisdictions, degrades aquatic systems even when watershed imperviousness remains low. Preservation of aquatic resources in developing areas will require integrated mitigation, which must including impervious-surface limits, forest-retention policies, stormwater detention, riparian-buffer maintenance, and protection of wetlands and unstable slopes. New management goals are needed for those watersheds whose existing development precludes significant ecosystem recovery; the same goals cannot be achieved in both developed and undeveloped watersheds.