The 2014 Puget Sound Pressures Assessment

The Puget Sound Pressures Assessment is an effort to better understand the pressures on the Sound’s freshwater, marine-nearshore, and terrestrial resources and identify the critical ecosystem vulnerabilities that should be addressed to ensure sustainable long-term protection and recovery.

Pressures Assessment report cover
Pressures Assessment report cover

Origins and Intent of the Pressures Assessment

The PSPA is one of the priority science actions in the Puget Sound Partnership’s 2011–13 biennial science work plan. Pressure assessment is a priority for the Science Panel because it provides the scientific input for prioritizing recovery actions, based on the assumption that understanding the biggest stressors and most vulnerable ecosystem components (endpoints) is an important consideration for recovery planning. This effort is intended to update the original Puget Sound pressure assessment (Neuman et al., 2009) and respond to concerns that we need a more systematic and robust understanding of pressures and stressors on the Puget Sound ecosystem so we can more confidently identify and focus on what is most important. The 2014 Pressures Assessment:

  • Spans a broad suite of stressors and ecosystem endpoints necessary to evaluate and rank stressors across Puget Sound.
  • Provides information at two spatial scales: assessment unit (watersheds and marine basins) and regional.
  • Separates evaluation of the intrinsic vulnerability of endpoints to stressors from evaluation of stressor intensity, thus addressing one of the main criticisms of the 2009 pressure assessment—that it did not provide a fair assessment of pollution and other stressors which, to some extent at least, are controlled by current management actions.
  • Engaged experts from throughout the region in a structured and transparent process to support reproducibility and facilitate future updates.
  • Explicitly and systematically collected information about the amount and nature of uncertainty so it can be considered and communicated as part of the assessment results.

Download the full report