Puget Sound Partnership chooses indicators of health
August 30, 2010
The Puget Sound Partnership has chosen 20 indicators to measure the health of Puget Sound. The Partnership will use these indicators to determine how well we are performing in our efforts to restore, protect and prevent pollution in Puget Sound.
The 20 dashboard indicators that have been chosen include 12 natural science measures, six social science indicators, and two program elements. They were selected from over 700 possible items.
Natural science measurements
• Marine water quality. Marine water quality index, as measured by the Department of Ecology.
• Freshwater quality. Freshwater quality index, as measured by the Department of Ecology.
• Water availability. Percent of monitored stream flows below critical levels.
• Salmon abundance. Wild Chinook salmon population counts with distribution.
• Orca Abundance. Southern resident killer whale population trends.
• Pacific Herring. Pacific herring spawning biomass - status & trends.
• Terrestrial bird species. The abundance, breeding and counts for a composite variety of key Puget Sound bird species, as measured by numbers per sampled area.
• Shoreline armoring. Percent of freshwater and marine shorelines armored with hard bulkheads.
• Eelgrass. Extent of eelgrass, measured in acres, in greater Puget Sound.
• Toxics in fish. Specifically, Pacific herring, English sole and salmon.
• Toxics in sediment. Health of sediments measured by concentration of toxics and abundance and structure of living organisms.
• Land use/Land cover. Percent of land use/land cover; percent of impervious surfaces; extent and condition of land cover by type.
Social science measurements
• Puget Sound Quality of Life Index. This indicator is ‘under construction’ and is scheduled to be initially deployed in 2011 by the Puget Sound Partnership. It will be designed to represent our Puget Sound communities’ quality of life on the basis of several common demographic factors including population, cost of living and median household income.
• Sound Behavioral Index. This indicator is also ‘under construction’ and is to be initially deployed in 2011 by the Puget Sound Partnership. It will assess the adoption of Puget Sound-friendly practices among residents.
• Commercial fisheries harvest. Annual wild harvest, in pounds, of tribal and non-tribal wild caught commercial fisheries in Puget Sound.
• Swimming beaches. Percent of core beaches meeting water quality standards during swim season.
• Shellfish beds re-opened. Number of acres of shellfish bed growing areas impacted by degraded or declining water quality where harvest restrictions have been lifted.
• Recreational fishing permit sales. Number of recreational fishing permits sold annually in Puget Sound.
• Funding for the Sound. Federal, state and local funding allocated to our collectively accomplishing the work of the Action Agenda for cleaning up, restoring, and protecting Puget Sound by 2020.
• Action Agenda engagement. The percentage of Action Agenda items actively being addressed.
These indicators were chosen because they can:
• Give us a snapshot of the overall health of the Sound.
• Be updated with new information as we receive it over time.
• Provide an early warning of negative trends so that course corrections can be made quickly.
• Show the impacts of new and ongoing management strategies.
• Reveal the health of key ecosystem and human dimension metrics in advance of the Partnership’s State of the Sound reports.
• Be supported by what we know in terms of the natural and social science work going on both around the Sound and around the world.
• Transparently reveal how funding for management actions produces results.
• Resonate with the public as the most relevant measures of our Sound-wide success.