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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

Puget Sound (NEP Profile)

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Summary Information

Year Established: 1987
Location: Washington
Area of Watershed: 42,791 square kilometers

Priority Management Issues:
conventional pollutants
human population growth
habitat loss/alteration
introduced/pest species
oil spills

Major Habitat Types:
submerged aquatic vegetation (sea grass and kelp)
lagoon/shallow open water
rocky intertidal/subtidal
shellfish growing areas
sand/mud/salt flats
tidal pools
salt/brackish marsh
freshwater marsh (tidal and non-tidal)
forested wetland
seasonal wetland
freshwater lakes/ponds
non-wetland forest
riparien-riverine (forested, tidal, and floodplain)

Federally Endangered or Threatened Species:
Columbia white-tailed deer
gray wolf
grizzly bear
Aleutian Canada goose
bald eagle
brown pelican
marbled murrelet
northern spotted owl
peregrine falcon
western snowy plover
green sea turtle
leatherback sea turtle
loggerhead sea turtle
olive ridley sea turtle
Oregon silverspot butterfly
golden paintbrush
marsh sandwort
Nelson's checker-mallow
water howellia

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Overviews and Highlights

Puget Sound was given priority status in the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act and became one of the original programs in the NEP.  The first CCMP was approved in 1991 for Puget Sound and much has been done subsequently.  Persistent threats to this valuable ecosystem, however, led Washington State in 2007 to create a new state agency, the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP), to reinvigorate these efforts.  PSP recently released an Action Agenda (December 2008) which describes a set of actions and priorities to restore and protect Puget Sound by 2020. The Action Agenda identifies the following threats:
  • Habitat Alteration and Land Conversion
  • Pollution
  • Surface and Groundwater Supply
  • Invasive Species
  • Artificial Propagation of Species
  • Harvest

Actions identified were organized around five priority strategies:

  • Protect Intact Ecosystem Processes, Structures, and Functions
  • Restore Ecosystem Processes, Structures, and Functions
  • Prevent Water Pollution at its Source
  • Work Together
  • Build an Implementation, Monitoring, and Accountability Management System

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