The National Ocean Council defines Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) as "an integrated approach to resource management that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans, and the elements that are integral to ecosystem functions. EBM is informed by science to conserve and protect our cultural and natural heritage by sustaining diverse, productive, resilient ecosystems and the services they provide, thereby promoting the long-term health, security, and well-being of our Nation." —National Ocean Council (2011)
Table 30. Species indicators for which targets have been established in Puget Sound and/or Washington state.
Equilibrium population abundance is ~6,000 individuals in WA state
Carrying capacity of 10,000-13,000 individuals (WA inland waters)
This section provides a brief summary of existing targets for Puget Sound including those for species, habitats, water quality, and water quantity.
A catalog of ecosystem indicators is only useful in the extent to which it informs answers to the question “Is Puget Sound healthy?” In economics, it is not meaningful to report on the rate at which unemployment claims are filed unless it is known that an increase in that rate indicates a decline in the business cycle (The Business Conference Board 2001). Similarly, in the absence of reference levels, a list of values for indicators alone provides no insight into the status of the ecosystem relative to its desired state. Thus, establishing a target associated with each indicator is fundamental to the success of the Puget Sound Partnership’s ecosystem-based management efforts, for several reasons.
In the PSP parlance, a target is defined as a desired state (Puget Sound Partnership 2009b). Consequently, the process of establishing desirability must comprise not just ecological understanding, but also societal values (Campbell et al. 2009, Rapport 1992). A powerful way to collect and organize data about societal values is the normative approach (Vaske et al. 1993). Norms define what is generally accepted within a cultural context, and may serve as societal standards to evaluate ecosystem conditions, human activities, or management strategies.
A construct that has been particularly successful in the realm of fisheries management is the distinction between target and limit reference levels (Figure 9). A target is a reference level that signals a desired state, whereas a limit is a reference level pegged to an extreme value beyond which undesired change occurs (Jennings and Dulvy 2005, Caddy 2002).
Ocean stewardship is not simple. Rather than maintaining piecemeal efforts, scientists, managers, conservationists, and policymakers have agreed that restoration and protection of the oceans will require a more integrated approach (National Marine Fisheries Service 2008, Karr 1992, Pauly 1995). A unified appeal for marine ecosystem-based management (EBM) has made the task of developing concrete methods for implementation quite urgent (Sainsbury et al. 2000, Castilla 1999, Dayton et al. 2000). Indeed, if the goal is maintenance and sustainable use of a healthy ecosystem (McLeod et al. 2005), it follows that those responsible for achieving this objective require a means to track the progress of their efforts. As discussed above, indicators allow the tracking of progress and change.
Ranking schemes provide a mechanism for narrowing the long list of indicators presented above to a more manageable set that facilitates inference about the status of the Puget Sound ecosystem. Here we suggest that focusing on the specificity and sensitivity of an indicator, in combination with its performance against the “understood by the public and policymakers” criterion introduced above, provides a framework for reporting on the status of Puget Sound.
Terminology and Concepts
Ecosystem assessment indicator
Technically robust and rigorous metric used by scientists and managers to understand of ecosystem structure and function
Indicator that is increasing faster in the short-term but slower in the long-term than an index that captures aggregate changes in multiple indicators
There are over seventy USGS gauging stations on unregulated rivers and streams in Puget Sound, which are continuously collecting streamflow data. There are over 170 specific metrics that can be used to evaluate different aspects of streamflow. In order to determine which of these is most suitable for Puget Sound, we performed a review of the literature to determine salient management and scientific issues. The management issues of concern and potential indicators are listed below:
Recently the PSP listed several contaminants of concern for Puget Sound organized into four general categories including toxics, nutrients, pathogens, and other (i.e. deviations in physical/chemical state of a water body; Puget Sound Partnership 2008b). Specific issues related to these categories, including discussions on several chemicals of concern, have been detailed therein and elsewhere (Puget Sound Partnership 2009c). Nutrients and “other,” will be discussed as physical/chemical parameters; toxics as trace inorganic and organic chemicals; pathogens, under the goal Human Health.
This version of the Puget Sound Science Update provides an initial evaluation of habitat indicators, but is not intended to be comprehensive. Highlights include evaluation of marine and interface habitats (area and condition), as well as evaluation of a number of indicators of freshwater and terrestrial habitats condition. Many measures of habitat condition, especially those relating to water quality, were addressed under the PSP Water Quality goal.
This version of the Puget Sound Science Update provides an initial evaluation of food web indicators, but is not intended to be comprehensive. Highlights include the evaluation of individual species or species complexes as food web indicators due to their key functional roles (e.g., forage fish, jellyfish), and the identification of existing data sources for assessing food web structure and function at Washington State agencies and via satellite.
This version of the Puget Sound Science Update provides an initial evaluation of species indicators, but is not intended to be comprehensive. Focal species identified by O’Neill et al. (2008) were evaluated as either measures of population size or population condition. Many of these were identified as potentially good species indicators, and several may be relevant to key attributes of the other PSP goals (e.g., habitat condition).
In this section we present a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the various protection and restoration strategies identified and described in the preceding chapters. This evaluation method is designed to be used to make recommendations and conclusions for implementing the most ecologically and fiscally effective strategies for restoring Puget Sound ecosystem function.
The goal of this suggested evaluation process is to evaluate how likely a particular strategy, or group of strategies, will achieve its stated goal; namely, the restoration or protection of one or more desirable attributes of Puget Sound. In short, how effective is the strategy in question?
Editor's Note: This section is in outline form except for the Discussion of Harvest Management
2. Salmon and steelhead protection and restoration
A. Life-history-based restoration
B. ESA restoration vs. full, optimum production
C. The 4-H approach
1. Potential Strategies: Habitats
1. Section Scope
This section reviews, assesses, and summarizes the potential strategies investigated in past scientific and technical research for positively affecting the watersheds and tributaries draining to Puget Sound. The review and assessment covers strategies for both protecting resources that remain and recovering or improving resources that have been impaired. Concentration is on presenting the level of effectiveness of the candidate strategies, as established by the research, and the relative certainty associated with the reported effectiveness. Of particular interest is identifying strategies that reduce multiple threats to the Puget Sound ecosystem.
Here we focus on strategies that address broad-scale impacts in Puget Sound. We discuss perhaps the two must ubiquitous drivers, human footprint and climate change, recognizing that all other strategies must be imbedded within the context of these ultimate drivers. This review concentrates on publications that focus on Puget Sound, or at least the Pacific Northwest, including: Clancy et al. (2009), Climate Impacts Group (2009), Hulse, Gregory, and Baker (2002), Lombard (2006), Montgomery et al. (2003), and Ruckelshaus and McClure (2007). It is our hope that future versions of this document include lessons learned from other large-scale protection and restoration efforts in the U.S. that have analogous processes or properties.
The goal of this chapter is to review the potential ecosystem protection and restoration strategies investigated in past scientific research, assess how they can positively affect the biophysical condition of the greater Puget Sound ecosystem and summarize how the strategies can be applied to reduce threats to recovery of the Puget Sound ecosystem. This chapter covers strategies for both protecting resources that remain healthy as well as rehabilitating impaired natural resources. We emphasize the importance of concentrating on determining the level of effectiveness of the candidate strategies based on scientific research, as well as the relative certainty associated with their reported effectiveness.
Introduction: E. Eric Knudsen1
Overarching, Large-Scale Protection and Restoration Strategies: John Lombard2
Strategies for Watersheds and Tributaries: Richard R. Horner3
Strategies for Marine and Estuarine Habitats: E. Eric Knudsen1
Strategies for Fisheries and Wildlife : Cleveland Steward4
Evaluation of Protection and Restoration Effectiveness: E. Eric Knudsen1
2Lombard Consulting LLC and University of Washington
3Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Landscape Architecture, University of Washington
4Steward and Associates
Scott F. Pearson1, Nathalie Hamel2, Steven Walters3, and John Marzluff3
Introduction: Scott F. Pearson1, Steven Walters3, and Nathalie Hamel2
Climate Change: Heather Cornell3
Residential, Commercial and Industrial Development: Steven Walters3
Shoreline Modification: Steven Walters3
Pollution: James West4
Invasive and Non-native Species: Heather Cornell3
Ecosystem Models and Their Evaluation: Scott F. Pearson1 and Steven Walters3
Conclusion: All authors contributed
Tim Essington1, Terrie Klinger2, Tish Conway-Cranos1,2, Joe Buchanan3, Andy James4, Jessi Kershner1, Ilon Logan2, and Jim West3
In this last section, we briefly present a framework for establishing connections between potential indicators of ecosystem biophysical conditions and human well-being in Puget Sound. The framework also provides a way of characterizing existing and future studies and data that are relevant to an element of the set of potential HWB indicators.
In this section, we consider how research on HWB and its determinants can illuminate the problem of selecting HWB indicators for ecosystem-based management. The focus is on methods that can and have been used to identify economic, social, and sometimes environmental factors that are correlated with and therefore likely to determine (in part) human well-being. These methods provide a way of assessing the connections between ecological and human systems, using human well-being as the metric by which to judge the strength of those links. The methods described below do not span the full set of potential ways of making such an assessment. In later versions of this document, the intent is to add, where warranted, other approaches.
The Puget Sound Partnership is charged with identifying actions to protect and restore Puget Sound, and assessing the effectiveness of those actions. As part of its effort to fulfill these charges, the Partnership will identify indicators to monitor the ecological and human systems within the Puget Sound region. These indicators will help inform decision makers and the public about the health of Puget Sound.
In creating the Partnership, the Washington State Legislature identified six goals (State of Washington, 2007):
Mark L. Plummer1 and Morgan Schneidler2
Detailed spreadsheets showing the results of the indicator evaluation are available at the following link: Indicator Evaluation Spreadsheets. Summary tables are included at the end of this section. Following the framework outlined in Section 3, we organize the results of the evaluation by PSP ecosystem goals (i.e. Species, Habitat, Food Webs, Water Quality, and Water Quantity). Each goal has been divided per unique ecosystem domain (marine, freshwater, interface, and terrestrial).
1. Indicator selection and organization
What are ecosystem indicators and why are they useful?
Phillip S. Levin1, Andy James2, Jessi Kershner3, Sandra O’Neill1, Tessa Francis1, Jameal Samhouri1, Chris Harvey1, Michael T. Brett2, and Daniel Schindler3
This is an extended abstract of Poisoning the body to nourish the soul: Prioritising health risks and impacts in a Native American community by Jamie L. Donatuto, Terre A. Satterfield and Robin Gregory. The full article was published in Health, Risk & Society, Vol. 13, No. 2, April 2011, 103–127. The extended abstract was prepared for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound by Jamie L. Donatuto.
NOAA has released a draft report establishing a common monitoring and adaptive management framework for Chinook salmon recovery in Puget Sound.
The Puget Sound Recovery Implementation Technical Team has released a draft of a NOAA technical memorandum describing frameworks for adaptive management and monitoring of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound. Download the report.
A recent summary includes information compiled in Winter 2013 by the modeling workgroup of the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP). It describes several ecosystem modeling efforts in the region.
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an integrated, science-based approach to the management of natural resources that aims to sustain the health, resilience and diversity of ecosystems while allowing for sustainable use by humans of the goods and services they provide.
The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound species library now includes a list of species of concern in the Salish Sea watershed. The list was created by Joe Gaydos and Nicholas Brown of the SeaDoc Society, and was released as a paper presented as part of the Proceedings of the 2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, BC.
An indicator species is an organism whose presence, absence or abundance reflects a specific environmental condition. Indicator species can signal a change in the biological condition of a particular ecosystem, and thus may be used as a proxy to diagnose the health of an ecosystem. For example, plants or lichens sensitive to heavy metals or acids in precipitation may be indicators of air pollution. Indicator species can also reflect a unique set of environmental qualities or characteristics found in a specific place, such as a unique microclimate. However, care must be exercised in using indicator species.
A recent report by an independent science panel reviewed data on the effects of salmon fisheries on Southern Resident Killer Whale populations. The report was released on November 30, 2012 and was commissioned by NOAA Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
There are many ways of defining the boundaries of the Puget Sound basin. Hydrologic unit codes (HUCs) are nationally standardized divisions that are often used by conservation agencies and national organizations.
The Puget Sound Partnership is charged with preparing a State of the Sound report every two years to inform the legislature and the public on the status of restoration efforts in Puget Sound.
A summary and categorization of types of social indicators and metrics used by government and non-government agencies in the Puget Sound Basin.
The State of Our Watersheds Report is produced by the treaty tribes of western Washington, and seeks to present a comprehensive view of 20 watersheds in the Puget Sound region and the major issues that are impacting habitat.
Open Standards seek to build a common language and framework for decision making and prioritization of conservation issues.
The Puget Sound Marine Waters 2011 report is now available. The report was produced by the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program and assesses the condition and quality of the waters of Puget Sound.
The Washington State Department of Ecology and other state natural resources agencies have divided the Washington into 62 "Water Resource Inventory Areas" or "WRIAs" to delineate the state's major watersheds.
The Puget Sound region has a long history that has shaped the culture and environment we experience today. View a timeline describing key events in the Puget Sound region dating from Washington statehood to the present.
Ecosystem services are the “outputs” and experiences of ecosystems that benefit humans, and are generated by the structure and function of natural systems, often in combination with human activities. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a global effort to catalog and assess ecosystem status and functions, offers a useful classification scheme.