National Estuary Program
In 1987, Congress established the National Estuary Program (NEP) to protect estuaries threatened by the degradation caused by human activity. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the program, provides financial and technical support to NEPs.
NEPs are collaborative, community-based entities that address issues facing the estuaries with specific environmental protection actions. Each NEP develops and implements a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the designated study area. CCMPs must carry specific actions that will address priority problems, identify parties to implement the actions, develop a plan to ensure implementation occurs and funding for each action.
Three of the 28 nationally designated estuaries are in Region 10: Puget Sound, Lower Columbia River, and Tillamook Bay.
Puget Sound was one of the original NEP programs. The first CCMP was approved in 1991. In 2007, due to persistent threats to our valuable ecosystem, Washington State created the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) to reinvigorate efforts.
In 2008, PSP released an Action Agenda that 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
- Surface and Groundwater Supply
- Invasive Species
- Artificial Propagation of Species
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
As threatened Chinook populations in Puget Sound continue to lose ground, the state is looking to new strategies to reverse the trend. In the Skagit watershed, the scientists — and the fish — are among those leading the way.
This report describes how funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program provided fiscal support to allow the Nisqually Indian Tribe to participate in all aspects of the Puget Sound Management Conference. Activities included participation on the region's Ecosystem Coordination Board, The Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, a local South Sound LIO (AHSS), Treaty Rights at Risk efforts and various committees and meetings to support the outcomes of the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
A September 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute provides an overview of key products, results, and recommendations presented in three previous reports reviewing 50 projects from the first four years of the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program.
A September 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 27 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program. The report is an analysis of findings on shoreline restoration and derelict net and fishing gear removal.
The Puget Sound Recovery Atlas is a map-based, online tool that allows users to learn more about an important subset of Puget Sound restoration and protection activities.
A July 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 10 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program. The report is an analysis of findings on invasive species, toxics, oil spill, and integrated risk assessment.
Protecting Puget Sound watersheds from agricultural pollution using a progressive manure application risk management (ARM) system
Throughout the Puget Sound region, impacted and poorly managed agriculture has been repeatedly advanced as a leading contributor to surface and ground water pollution, particularly during the winter months. A study conducted from 2010 - 2015 aimed to develop an Application Risk Management (ARM) System to minimize pollution from manure in Whatcom County.
A 2015 report from Snohomish County, King County and the Tulalip Tribes outlines protection strategies for salmon and salmon habitat within the Snohomish Basin.
A 2015 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 14 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program.
An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the Woodard Creek Basin.
An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the McLane Creek Basin.
An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the Black Lake Basin.
Puget Sound is the second largest estuary in the United States. Today, we understand that estuaries—where freshwater and saltwater merge—are among the most productive places for life to exist.
The final report on a knotweed removal and native plant project from grant PO-00J08401 to King County DNR for the grant entitled: Protection and enhancement of the riparian buffers in WRIA 7 through restoration and stewardship.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has published a comprehensive set of guidelines for managing shoreline development such as bulkheads and seawalls.
The Puget Sound Action Agenda lays out the work needed to protect and restore Puget Sound into the future. It is intended to drive investment and action. The 2012 Action Agenda is the result of over a year of work with state and federal agencies, tribal governments, local governments, representatives of the business and environmental caucuses, and other interested partners. It builds on the first Action Agenda, created in 2008, and progress since then.
The Puget Sound Actiona Agenda is a shared plan for Puget Sound recovery resulting from a collaboration by state and federal agencies, tribal governments, local governments, business and environmental groups, and others.
The Shoreline Monitoring Toolbox standardizes approaches to tracking the status and health of shoreline environments in Puget Sound.
How does one of the West's busiest airports deal with extreme stormwater, and what does that mean for water quality standards in the rest of the state?
A 2014 report by the Kitsap Public Heath District describes the goals and achievements of the Shellfish Restoration and Protection Project including: increasing harvestable shellfish growing areas, establishing a routine shoreline monitoring program, improving water quality, and increasing education of water quality and shellfish protection.
Development of a stormwater retrofit plan for Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) 9: Comprehensive needs and cost assessment and extrapolation to Puget Sound
A 2014 King County report projects the capital and maintenance costs of the stormwater treatment facilities that would be needed, within WRIA 9 and the Puget Sound region, to fully comply with the Clean Water Act.
Pollution from stormwater has been called one of the greatest threats to Puget Sound. How much will it cost to hold back the rain? A new EPA-funded study says the price could reach billions per year, a figure that dwarfs current state and federal allocations.
A 2014 report prepared by the Stillaguamish Tribe analyzes potential causes of changes in peak and low flows in the Stillaguamish River basin.
Every two years, statute requires the Puget Sound Partnership to produce a Biennial Science Work Plan (BSWP). Its primary purposes are to I) assess how well ongoing research addresses decision-‐critical uncertainties relating to the recovery of Puget Sound; II) identify additional science needs for recovery; III) make recommendations for priority science actions in the coming biennium; and IV) suggest how science can better support recovery. This document is the third BSWP to be produced in the series, covering the 2014-2016 biennium.
Scientists are rethinking floodplain management in Puget Sound. Can we have our farms and salmon too?
A report from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department describes the results of a project to address threats to water quality in Pierce County, focusing on shellfish areas most at risk.
Monitoring and adaptive management of the Nisqually Delta after tidal marsh restoration: Restoring ecosystem function for salmon
This 2009 report by the Nisqually Tribe establishes key measures of restoration development, habitat processes, and Chinook salmon response for the largest delta restoration project in the Pacific Northwest.
A 2014 San Juan County report addresses sustainable growth planning, pollution prevention, and mitigation actions in the Eastsound and Westcott Bay areas.
Comprehensive watershed plan for sustainable development and restoration of the Gorst Creek watershed
A 2014 report explains the development of a comprehensive land use plan that is based on the ecological values and functions of the Gorst Creek Watershed in southeast Kitsap County.
A 2013 report from the Environmental Protection Agency discusses progress on implementing transfer of development rights (TDR) as a strategy for conservation and increased development capacity in Puget Sound.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 and the National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Region have released a report describing results from a series of technical workgroups about the potential effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) on Puget Sound and Southern Resident killer whales.
The 2013 Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report was prepared jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada. View the complete report, or read the Executive Summary below.
This document was prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service. Download the entire report, or read the Introduction below. Portions of this document were originally published in June 2013 and were updated in February 2014.