Proposed Abstract Title

The 2015 State of the Sound: Report on the Puget Sound Vital Signs

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Softening Borders through Information Exchange: Monitoring and Indicator- Efforts Within and Across Boundaries in the Salish Sea

Location

2016SSEC

Description

As Puget Sound’s regional recovery organization, the Puget Sound Partnership chose an array of measures to gauge the health of the Sound called the Puget Sound Vital Signs. The measures span across the six statutory goals for recovery established by the Washington State legislature, including goals for water, habitat, species, food webs and human wellbeing. Our talk will present an overview of the latest findings and key messages from the 2015 State of the Sound: Report on the Puget Sound Vital Signs, released in November 2015.

Various indicators that represent each Vital Sign serve as the measurable metrics of the health of Puget Sound. The indicators primarily track the status and trends of the bio-physical condition of Puget Sound and human wellbeing, but also account for some human pressures and human actions intended to restore the system. Recovery targets were adopted for a majority of indicators, and define a series of quantitative milestones to meet by the year 2020.

Data on the status and trends of indicators were compiled from a variety of monitoring programs.

The evaluation of trends of the indicators reveals mixed results. Ten indicators are getting better, while 11 are either not changing or getting worse. Human pressures continue, some unabated, and external forces from climate change and ocean acidification are changing the outlook of recovery. Though progress has been made, particularly in restoring habitats and improving water quality at local scales, the majority of Vital Sign indicators are, at best, only slowly changing. Few are at—or even within reach of—their interim targets. Therefore, there is little evidence that indicators are on a trajectory to reach their 2020 targets. The Vital Signs are signaling that the health of the system is not improving as expected and provide impetus for accelerating Puget Sound recovery efforts.

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The 2015 State of the Sound: Report on the Puget Sound Vital Signs

2016SSEC

As Puget Sound’s regional recovery organization, the Puget Sound Partnership chose an array of measures to gauge the health of the Sound called the Puget Sound Vital Signs. The measures span across the six statutory goals for recovery established by the Washington State legislature, including goals for water, habitat, species, food webs and human wellbeing. Our talk will present an overview of the latest findings and key messages from the 2015 State of the Sound: Report on the Puget Sound Vital Signs, released in November 2015.

Various indicators that represent each Vital Sign serve as the measurable metrics of the health of Puget Sound. The indicators primarily track the status and trends of the bio-physical condition of Puget Sound and human wellbeing, but also account for some human pressures and human actions intended to restore the system. Recovery targets were adopted for a majority of indicators, and define a series of quantitative milestones to meet by the year 2020.

Data on the status and trends of indicators were compiled from a variety of monitoring programs.

The evaluation of trends of the indicators reveals mixed results. Ten indicators are getting better, while 11 are either not changing or getting worse. Human pressures continue, some unabated, and external forces from climate change and ocean acidification are changing the outlook of recovery. Though progress has been made, particularly in restoring habitats and improving water quality at local scales, the majority of Vital Sign indicators are, at best, only slowly changing. Few are at—or even within reach of—their interim targets. Therefore, there is little evidence that indicators are on a trajectory to reach their 2020 targets. The Vital Signs are signaling that the health of the system is not improving as expected and provide impetus for accelerating Puget Sound recovery efforts.