Presentation Abstract

The Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency responsible for leading and coordinating efforts to recover the health of Puget Sound, adopted 21 indicators to track the health of Puget Sound. These indicators are collectively referred to as the “Puget Sound Vital Signs”. This presentation reports trends of the Vital Signs and the progress made toward their respective ecosystem recovery targets set for 2020. Data are compiled from monitoring programs managed by various agencies and organizations associated with the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP). Thus, findings represent the work of many partners. Three of the Vital Signs have been improving relative to their respective baselines. All three are “management response” indicators, i.e., direct measures of a human action. Newly harvestable shellfish beds and more swimmable beaches, two of the improving Vital Signs, reflect reductions in pathogens in local areas. Estuary restoration, a measure of the number of acres of restored river delta, is the only other Vital Sign that made progress. Three Vital Signs remained unchanged (eelgrass, Chinook salmon and summer stream flows) while three others actually worsened (orcas, herring and marine water quality). This lack of progress was expected given that these are all indicators of ecosystem components that are generally difficult to manage and tend to change slowly over time. Six Vital Signs showed mixed results. They are represented by two or more measures which reveal a mix of improving conditions, worsening conditions and/or lack of data. A conclusion for progress was not available for the remaining six Vital Signs because they were either under development or had no data. Despite some notable improvements, all Vital Signs remain far from the 2020 targets. In the short-term, responsive indicators matched appropriately to the scale of recovery efforts should be emphasized to help inform the course corrections needed to improve ecosystem health over time.

Session Title

Session S-08F: Emerging Tools for Synthesizing and Communicating Ecosystem Information I

Conference Track

Planning Assessment & Communication

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2014 : Seattle, Wash.)

Document Type

Event

Start Date

2-5-2014 8:30 AM

End Date

2-5-2014 10:00 AM

Location

Room 602-603

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Share

COinS
 
May 2nd, 8:30 AM May 2nd, 10:00 AM

The 2013 State of the Sound: Status of the ecosystem

Room 602-603

The Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency responsible for leading and coordinating efforts to recover the health of Puget Sound, adopted 21 indicators to track the health of Puget Sound. These indicators are collectively referred to as the “Puget Sound Vital Signs”. This presentation reports trends of the Vital Signs and the progress made toward their respective ecosystem recovery targets set for 2020. Data are compiled from monitoring programs managed by various agencies and organizations associated with the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP). Thus, findings represent the work of many partners. Three of the Vital Signs have been improving relative to their respective baselines. All three are “management response” indicators, i.e., direct measures of a human action. Newly harvestable shellfish beds and more swimmable beaches, two of the improving Vital Signs, reflect reductions in pathogens in local areas. Estuary restoration, a measure of the number of acres of restored river delta, is the only other Vital Sign that made progress. Three Vital Signs remained unchanged (eelgrass, Chinook salmon and summer stream flows) while three others actually worsened (orcas, herring and marine water quality). This lack of progress was expected given that these are all indicators of ecosystem components that are generally difficult to manage and tend to change slowly over time. Six Vital Signs showed mixed results. They are represented by two or more measures which reveal a mix of improving conditions, worsening conditions and/or lack of data. A conclusion for progress was not available for the remaining six Vital Signs because they were either under development or had no data. Despite some notable improvements, all Vital Signs remain far from the 2020 targets. In the short-term, responsive indicators matched appropriately to the scale of recovery efforts should be emphasized to help inform the course corrections needed to improve ecosystem health over time.