1993 Puget Sound Update

The 1993 Puget Sound Updatethe fourth annual report of this programevaluates the data collected by PSAMP in 1992 (the most recent year for which the data have undergone quality assurance review and interpretation) and compares these data to past information on Puget Sound water quality.

1993 Puget Sound Update report cover page
1993 Puget Sound Update report cover page


Declining salmon populations, extensive loss of nearshore habitats, toxic chemical contaminants in most urbanized bays. The first question people usually ask upon hearing these facts is "how healthy is Puget Sound?" After four years of monitoring through the Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program (PSAMP), we are better able to answer that question. The information collected for this program tells us what types of problems are most serious, where those problems are most evident, and the changes that occur over seasons and between years.

The growing body of information on Puget Sound's water quality suggests that no area is entirely free from the consequences of human activities. The degree to which these activities affect different parts of the Puget Sound ecosystem varies widely. Some resources, such as sediments, shellfish, and nearshore habitats, show signs of widespread and serious degradation from past and present activities. Others, such as the water column (the water itself), do not show the serious contamination problems found in many estuaries across the nation.

So how does PSAMP diagnose Puget Sound's health? By examining five key indicators which measure the extent to which human activities adversely affect different parts of Puget Sound's ecosystem. The indicators are chemical contamination of sediments and biological organisms; fecal contamination of marine waters, fresh waters, and shellfish; types and amounts of nearshore habitat; abundance of biological resources; and conventional water quality.

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