Human quality of life
Human quality of life is sometimes described using the term human wellbeing. Human wellbeing (HWB) is multi-faceted and can be enhanced, or negatively affected, by our daily experiences, such as the quality of our work life and personal relationships, our engagement in physical activity and adherence to a healthy diet, and opportunities to participate in cultural activities. Many facets of wellbeing are directly related to the health of the natural environment such as the ability to release stress in a peaceful forest or a thriving local economy derived from sustainable shellfish harvesting. The status of our wellbeing can influence the way we make decisions that affect the environment and the status of those resources, in turn, can affect our wellbeing. In many cases, this perspective is left out of ecosystem recovery. Because of a growing understanding of the relationship between HWB and the status of natural resources, planning for and monitoring human wellbeing as a component of ecosystem recovery is a growing trend. Within the Puget Sound specifically, the Puget Sound Partnership has adopted a series of quality of life indicators.
Developing Human Wellbeing Indicators for the Hood Canal Watershed, a report by Kelly Biedenweg, Ph.D., Stanford University and Puget Sound Institute and Adi Hanein, UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (2013).
State of the Sound report 2021
The 2021 State of the Sound is the Puget Sound Partnership’s seventh biennial report to the Legislature on progress toward the recovery of Puget Sound. The document reports on both the status of the Partnership's recovery efforts and a suite of ecosystem indicators referred to as the Puget Sound Vital Signs.
Shared shorelines, shared meanings?: Examining place meaning in Puget Sound (extended abstract)
A 2021 article in the journal Applied Geography examines perceptions of shorelines in the Puget Sound region. A community survey described in the article showed that local residents preferred undeveloped shorelines to shorelines with armored structures such as seawalls and bulkheads.
Social Science for the Salish Sea
Social Science for the Salish Sea (S4) provides a foundation for future research projects, accessible information for planning or management decisions, and synthesized content to inform ecosystem recovery.
State agencies will focus on improving environmental justice under new law
The recently approved HEAL Act requires the state of Washington to address issues of environmental justice within its agencies. The Act is expected to be signed by the governor and focuses on inequities in environmental health conditions for disenfranchised populations.
Why is so much pollution found in disadvantaged communities?
Researchers are looking at the forces of discrimination that worsen the environmental health risks for some communities.
Diverse populations benefit from targeted efforts to improve environmental justice
Years of struggle have led to reduced pollution and a stronger sense of community in the Duwamish Valley. As cleanup efforts there continue, environmental justice has come front and center for the area's diverse populations.
Priority science to support Puget Sound recovery: A Science work plan for 2020-2024
Priority Science to Support Recovery of the Puget Sound Ecosystem: A Science Work Plan for 2020-2024 (SWP for 2020-2024) describes the information, learning, and interaction needed to support the coordinated efforts to recover, protect, and improve the resilience of the Puget Sound ecosystem.
Sensing liminal landscapes in Puget Sound
Puget Sound's shorelines are "liminal landscapes" that can inspire senses of "escape, transformation, and human creativity," according to a 2021 paper in GeoJournal. That may have regional policy implications as coastal researchers increasingly recognize the need to incorporate community inclusion and 'sense of place' in management decisions. The paper includes findings from a 12-county survey aimed at gauging residents’ sense of place for Puget Sound’s liminal shorelines.
Whose Puget Sound?: Examining place attachment, residency, and stewardship in the Puget Sound region
A 2020 article in the journal Geographical Review examines the current status of place attachment among Puget Sound residents in connection with environmental stewardship behaviors. The authors challenge often-touted negative perceptions of the region’s newcomers and conclude that residents, new and old, share a strong positive place attachment and sense of pro-environmental stewardship.
Fire danger returning to Western Washington
Historically, the eastern part of the state has seen the largest impacts from fires, but climate change is now increasing the risk west of the Cascades. That could have big implications for many rural communities throughout Western Washington, including those in the Puget Sound region.
Earth Day events go online because of virus
Participants in this year’s Earth Day activities won’t be rallying in large groups, participating in environmental festivals or coming together to clean up the Earth. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — April 21st — the environmental movement will be uniquely digital, with many people celebrating from their home computers. [This story is reprinted from the Puget Sound Institute-sponsored blog 'Our Water Ways.']
Coastlines and communities: A preliminary glance at the relationship between shoreline armoring and sense of place in Puget Sound
A 2019 report from Oregon State University examines how community members, including non-property owners, value shorelines in Puget Sound. The report emphasizes the impacts of shoreline armoring on survey respondents' sense of place in the region.
Urban lifestyles help to protect the Puget Sound ecosystem
The state of Washington estimates that the Puget Sound area will grow by more than 1.5 million residents within the next two decades. That is expected to have profound effects on the environment as more and more people move to undeveloped areas. The race is on to protect this critical rural habitat, but planners say what happens in the cities may be just as important.
Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program
The Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP) is an independent program established by state and federal statute to monitor environmental conditions in Puget Sound.
Social scientists around the Salish Sea are predicting the effects of environmental change through the lens of culturally important foods.
A comparative study of human well-being indicators across three Puget Sound regions
A 2016 paper in the journal Society and Natural Resources looks at the creation of human well-being indicators across three regions in the Puget Sound watershed. The author suggests that overarching domains for these indictors might be applied more broadly in other environmental contexts.
This content initiates a description of the social dimensions of the Puget Sound system with a short list of facts about population growth trends, how humans interact with and depend on the Puget Sound ecosystem for their wellbeing (in the broadest sense), and the large-scale policies and individual human activities that have the greatest potential impact on the Puget Sound ecosystem.
Evaluating threats in multinational marine ecosystems: A Coast Salish first nations and tribal perspective
A 2015 paper in the journal PLoS ONE identifies ongoing and proposed energy-related development projects that will increase marine vessel traffic in the Salish Sea. It evaluates the threats each project poses to natural resources important to Coast Salish first nations and tribes.
A holistic framework for identifying human wellbeing indicators for marine policy
A 2015 paper in the journal Marine Policy identifies six domains of human wellbeing related to the natural environment. The domains were developed based on case studies in Washington's Hood Canal and Olympic Coast regions.
Evaluating sense of place as a domain of human well-being for Puget Sound restoration
This report communicates findings of a social science study conducted between July 2013 and December 2014 on a focal domain of human well-being: sense of place.
Puget Sound Fact Book
The Puget Sound Fact Book brings together statistics and other information about the health and makeup of the Puget Sound ecosystem. Areas of focus include climate change, geography, water quality, habitats, human dimensions and regional species. The fact book was prepared for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Puget Sound Partnership.
The Values of Place: Recreation and Cultural Ecosystem Services in Puget Sound
Coastal recreation, tourism, and ethical or existence values are among the most important ecosystem service (ES) benefits identified by Puget Sound stakeholders (Iceland et al, 2008). The ecosystem services (ES) concept has become the leading framework to understand and communicate the human dimensions of environmental change. This report focuses on economic, social and cultural values inextricably linked to ES benefits in the context of ongoing efforts to restore and protect the Sound.
2014 state of salmon in watersheds executive summary
This report documents how Washingtonians have responded to the challenges of protecting and restoring salmon and steelhead to healthy status. It also serves as a tool to summarize achievements, track salmon recovery progress through common indicators, and identify data gaps that need to be filled.
Human dimensions of Puget Sound and Washington Coast ecosystem-based management
A workshop report prepared for the Puget Sound Institute and Washington Sea Grant
2012 state of salmon in watersheds executive summary
Salmon recovery demands both dedication among people with different interests, and sustained resources. This biennial report tells the story of the progress made to date and the challenges ahead.
Subsistence fishing in a 21st century capitalist society: From commodity to gift
A 2015 paper in the journal Ecological Economics evaluated “personal use” and subsistence use of seafood among commercial operators in Washington and California, as well as the extent, range, and species diversity of noncommercial wild ocean seafood subsistence harvests.
Ranking the greatest threats to Puget Sound: A summary of the 2014 Puget Sound Pressures Assessment
This paper summarizes a 2014 report ranking the greatest human-caused threats to the Puget Sound ecosystem.
Recommended social indicators for the Puget Sound Partnership: A report summarizing lessons from three local case studies
A 2014 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute identifies 23 potential indicators of human wellbeing in the Puget Sound region. These indicators will inform the adoption of Human Quality of Life "Vital Signs" by the Puget Sound Partnership.
Stimulus-dependent response to disturbance affecting the activity of killer whales
A 2015 paper presented to the International Whaling Commission compares the impacts of kayaks and powerboats on killer whale populations.
Measuring human wellbeing indicators for Hood Canal
This 2014 Puget Sound Institue report shows baseline data, surveyed from Hood Canal residents, of four subjective indicators: accessing locally harvested products, experiencing positive emotions, working with community members to solve natural resource issues, and knowledge gained from different communication sources.
Gifts from the sea: shellfish as an ecosystem service
The region's famed mollusks provide more than just money and jobs. They offer what are called ecosystem services—a wide variety of benefits that humans derive from an ecosystem.
Health of the Salish Sea as measured using transboundary ecosystem indicators
A December 2014 paper in the journal Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management describes a project to identify transboundary ecosystem indicators for the Salish Sea.
Nature inspires new approach to flood control
Scientists are rethinking floodplain management in Puget Sound. Can we have our farms and salmon too?
Developing human wellbeing indicators related to the natural environment for Whatcom County
An October 2014 report examines the planning and monitoring of human wellbeing as a component of resource management in Whatcom County.
Developing Human Wellbeing Indicators for the Puyallup Watershed
A July 2014 report examines potential human wellbeing indicators for the Puyallup Watershed.
Developing Human Wellbeing Indicators in the Puget Sound: Focusing on the Watershed Scale
This paper appears in the July 2014 issue of the journal Coastal Management, which focuses on the role of social sciences in Puget Sound ecosystem recovery.
Indigenous Community Health and Climate Change: Integrating Biophysical and Social Science Indicators
This paper appears in the July 2014 issue of the journal Coastal Management, which focuses on the role of social sciences in Puget Sound ecosystem recovery.
Special issue of Coastal Management focuses on social sciences in Puget Sound recovery
The July 2014 issue of the journal Coastal Management focuses on the role of social sciences in Puget Sound ecosystem recovery. Articles range from political ecology to the development of human wellbeing indicators and directly address current Puget Sound restoration efforts. Guest editors include Encyclopedia of Puget Sound topic editor Kelly Biedenweg and Puget Sound Science Panel co-chair Katharine Wellman. The journal is co-edited by Patrick Christie of our editorial board. Extended abstracts of the articles will be available on these pages in coming weeks.
Marine Protected Areas in Puget Sound
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been present in Puget Sound since the early 1900s, although most were established after the 1960s. By 1998 there were at least 102 intertidal and subtidal protected areas in Puget Sound, created and managed by at least 12 different agencies or organizations at the local, county, State and Federal level.
Measuring Socio-Cultural Values Associated with Salmon in the Quinault Indian Nation
A 2014 report describes a study of socio-cultural values associated with blueback salmon in the Quinault Indian Nation. The blueback salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is a unique strain of sockeye that returns primarily to the Quinault river system.
Social science and monitoring needs for Puget Sound recovery
A report by the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute describes a 2013 workshop to integrate the social sciences into Puget Sound ecosystem monitoring. Social scientists will focus in part on several of the Puget Sound Partnership's designated ecosystem indicators, including categories such as Healthy Human Population and Human Quality of Life.
An inventory of scientific research associated with Puget Sound recovery from 2011-2013
Every two years the Puget Sound Partnership is required to assess the status of scientific research relating to the recovery of Puget Sound, in a document knows as the Biennial Science Work Plan (BSWP). Among other tasks, this entails making an inventory of all ongoing research projects in the current biennium (2011-2013). We are posting this (draft) inventory of recovery-relevant research projects here to make the information generally available.
Cultural dimensions of socio-ecological systems: key connections and guiding principles for conservation in coastal environments
A November 2013 paper in the journal Conservation Letters examines the importance of cultural values to ecosystem-based management of coastal environments. Extended abstract by Melissa Poe of NOAA Fisheries and Washington Sea Grant, with Phil Levin and Karma Norman.
Developing human wellbeing indicators for the Hood Canal watershed
Interacting coastal based ecosystem services— recreation and water quality in Puget Sound
This paper uses water quality data to examine the relationship between environmental condition and recreational use of parks in Puget Sound.
Report: Economic analysis of the non-treaty commercial and recreational fisheries in Washington State
This report, published in 2008 by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, summarizes the economic importance of Washington fisheries using data from 2006. The report's Executive Summary is reprinted below, followed by summaries of data specific to Puget Sound.
2013 Health Impact Assessment: proposed cleanup plan for the lower Duwamish Waterway superfund site
Extended abstract— Poisoning the body to nourish the soul: Prioritising health risks and impacts in a Native American community
This is an extended abstract of Poisoning the body to nourish the soul: Prioritising health risks and impacts in a Native American community by Jamie L. Donatuto, Terre A. Satterfield and Robin Gregory. The full article was published in Health, Risk & Society, Vol. 13, No. 2, April 2011, 103–127. The extended abstract was prepared for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound by Jamie L. Donatuto.
Well-being indicators in the Puget Sound Basin
A summary and categorization of types of social indicators and metrics used by government and non-government agencies in the Puget Sound Basin.
Report: 2012 State of Our Watersheds
The State of Our Watersheds Report is produced by the treaty tribes of western Washington, and seeks to present a comprehensive view of 20 watersheds in the Puget Sound region and the major issues that are impacting habitat.