Biennial Science Work Plan for 2011-2013

This report, Priority science for restoring and protecting Puget Sound: a Biennial Science Work Plan for 2011-2013, identifies priority science and monitoring questions needed to coordinate and implement effective recovery and protection strategies for Puget Sound.

Figure 1.  General Conceptual Model of Puget Sound Recovery (page 2).
Figure 1. General Conceptual Model of Puget Sound Recovery (page 2).

Executive Summary

The purpose of Priority Science for Restoring and Protecting Puget Sound: A Biennial Science Work Plan for 2011-2013 is to provide strategic focus on the science needed to recover and protect Puget Sound. This strategic focus can help direct the allocation of the limited resources available for science to the issues and studies where they are most needed. The document is a key companion to the Action Agenda Update, which describes the long-term strategies and coordinated near-term actions to be implemented by state and federal agencies, tribes, cities and counties, other local jurisdictions, nongovernmental organizations, and the general public to recover and protect Puget Sound and the ecosystem services it provides.

The Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel (Science Panel) chose these actions based on a review of the questions that current research and monitoring are addressing, a review of recommendations from scientific reports and publications on the science needs for a program of ecosystem recovery in Puget Sound, and recommendations from a broad base of scientists, practitioners, stakeholders, and decision makers. Analyzing this information relative to a conceptual model of ecosystem recovery for Puget Sound illustrated where gaps in scientific attention and knowledge are likely present.

Identifying gaps in knowledge does not immediately make them priorities for funding and investigation. To decide which gaps are priorities, the Science Panel asked two sets of questions. The first set focused on scientific questions: How much do we know? What is the level of scientific uncertainty? The second set focused on policy-science questions: What are the decision-critical questions and information needed for ecosystem restoration and protection? Where is the lack of scientific information hindering progress in restoration and recovery?

To determine what decision-critical issues are important, the Science Panel used: (1) the perspectives collected from stakeholders and conservation practitioners who participated in multiple stakeholder meetings on developing the Action Agenda Update; (2) the lists of priorities for the Action Agenda Update provided by Action Area groups, who hold the perspectives of local implementing organizations, governments, and tribes about what is important in local areas and watersheds; and (3) feedback on proposed science priorities from decision makers on the Ecosystem Coordination Board, who represent a broad range of interests and values.

The Science Panel identified the following 48 science actions as high priority (Table 1). The science actions are grouped according to the strategy sections of the Action Agenda Update.

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