National Estuary Program
In 1987, Congress established the National Estuary Program (NEP) to protect estuaries threatened by the degradation caused by human activity. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the program, provides financial and technical support to NEPs.
NEPs are collaborative, community-based entities that address issues facing the estuaries with specific environmental protection actions. Each NEP develops and implements a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the designated study area. CCMPs must carry specific actions that will address priority problems, identify parties to implement the actions, develop a plan to ensure implementation occurs and funding for each action.
Three of the 28 nationally designated estuaries are in Region 10: Puget Sound, Lower Columbia River, and Tillamook Bay.
Puget Sound was one of the original NEP programs. The first CCMP was approved in 1991. In 2007, due to persistent threats to our valuable ecosystem, Washington State created the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) to reinvigorate efforts.
In 2008, PSP released an Action Agenda that describes a set of actions and priorities to restore and protect Puget Sound by 2020.
The Action Agenda identifies the following threats:
- Habitat Alteration and Land Conversion
- Surface and Groundwater Supply
- Invasive Species
- Artificial Propagation of Species
Actions identified were organized around five priority strategies:
- Protect Intact Ecosystem Processes, Structures, and Functions
- Restore Ecosystem Processes, Structures, and Functions
- Prevent Water Pollution at its Source
- Work Together
- Build an Implementation, Monitoring, and Accountability Management System
A 2022 article in the journal Environmental Science & Policy looks at how knowledge exchange across organizations influences science-based ecosystem recovery in Puget Sound. The University of Washington Puget Sound Institute describes its work to identify and communicate key scientific findings that support funding and policy decisions on an ecosystem scale.
Puget Sound National Estuary Program Synthesis of Integrated Floodplain Management in Selected Puget Sound River Deltas
A 2021 synthesis report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute synthesizes leading integrated floodplain management approaches to support the EPA-funded Floodplains and Estuaries Implementation Strategy.
This report details the outcomes, successes, and reflections of the final two years (2014-15) of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Estuary Program award dedicated to tribal restoration and protection projects in the Puget Sound watershed.
A 2020 Base Program Analysis from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute presents an overview of the programs, policies and initiatives that support the Puget Sound Partnership’s Land Development and Cover Implementation Strategy.
The Pathogens Prevention Reduction and Control agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Health focuses on the prevention and reduction of pathogen pollution in Puget Sound through the management of human and animal waste. The primary objectives of the agreement include restoring shellfish growing areas, avoiding shellfish closures, and protecting people from disease.
A report from the Washington State Department of Health outlines results from a series of projects funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program in 2011. These projects addressed pathogen pollution in Puget Sound through the management of human and animal waste. Restoring shellfish growing areas, avoiding shellfish closures, and protecting people from disease served as the primary objectives.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a Five-year Puget Sound Tribal Capacity Program grant (Grant #PA-00J27701) to the Skokomish Indian Tribe. The tribe received approximately $1 million over a five-year project period (10/1/2010-9/30/2015). The purpose of the Puget Sound Tribal Capacity Program is to assist Puget Sound tribes in participating in the development and implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
A report from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission describes the results of a series of 97 tribal projects related to Puget Sound recovery funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Kitsap Regional Shoreline Restoration Program is an effort to protect and restore the Puget Sound nearshore by supporting willing landowners who wish to remove bulkheads on their shorelines. The Kitsap Regional Shoreline Restoration Program was funded by Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Puget Sound Watershed Assistance Program, Grant #PO-00J08501-0.
This report describes how funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program provided fiscal support to allow the Nisqually Indian Tribe to participate in all aspects of the Puget Sound Management Conference. Activities included participation on the region's Ecosystem Coordination Board, The Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, a local South Sound LIO (AHSS), Treaty Rights at Risk efforts and various committees and meetings to support the outcomes of the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
A September 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute provides an overview of key products, results, and recommendations presented in three previous reports reviewing 50 projects from the first four years of the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program.
A September 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 27 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program. The report is an analysis of findings on shoreline restoration and derelict net and fishing gear removal.
A July 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 10 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program. The report is an analysis of findings on invasive species, toxics, oil spill, and integrated risk assessment.
Protecting Puget Sound watersheds from agricultural pollution using a progressive manure application risk management (ARM) system
Throughout the Puget Sound region, impacted and poorly managed agriculture has been repeatedly advanced as a leading contributor to surface and ground water pollution, particularly during the winter months. A study conducted from 2010 - 2015 aimed to develop an Application Risk Management (ARM) System to minimize pollution from manure in Whatcom County.
A 2015 report from Snohomish County, King County and the Tulalip Tribes outlines protection strategies for salmon and salmon habitat within the Snohomish Basin.
A 2015 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 14 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program.
An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the Woodard Creek Basin.
An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the McLane Creek Basin.
An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the Black Lake Basin.
The final report on a knotweed removal and native plant project from grant PO-00J08401 to King County DNR for the grant entitled: Protection and enhancement of the riparian buffers in WRIA 7 through restoration and stewardship.
A 2014 report by the Kitsap Public Heath District describes the goals and achievements of the Shellfish Restoration and Protection Project including: increasing harvestable shellfish growing areas, establishing a routine shoreline monitoring program, improving water quality, and increasing education of water quality and shellfish protection.
Development of a stormwater retrofit plan for Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) 9: Comprehensive needs and cost assessment and extrapolation to Puget Sound
A 2014 King County report projects the capital and maintenance costs of the stormwater treatment facilities that would be needed, within WRIA 9 and the Puget Sound region, to fully comply with the Clean Water Act.
A 2014 report prepared by the Stillaguamish Tribe analyzes potential causes of changes in peak and low flows in the Stillaguamish River basin.
A report from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department describes the results of a project to address threats to water quality in Pierce County, focusing on shellfish areas most at risk.
Monitoring and adaptive management of the Nisqually Delta after tidal marsh restoration: Restoring ecosystem function for salmon
This 2009 report by the Nisqually Tribe establishes key measures of restoration development, habitat processes, and Chinook salmon response for the largest delta restoration project in the Pacific Northwest.
A 2014 San Juan County report addresses sustainable growth planning, pollution prevention, and mitigation actions in the Eastsound and Westcott Bay areas.
Comprehensive watershed plan for sustainable development and restoration of the Gorst Creek watershed
A 2014 report explains the development of a comprehensive land use plan that is based on the ecological values and functions of the Gorst Creek Watershed in southeast Kitsap County.
A 2013 report from the Environmental Protection Agency discusses progress on implementing transfer of development rights (TDR) as a strategy for conservation and increased development capacity in Puget Sound.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 and the National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Region have released a report describing results from a series of technical workgroups about the potential effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) on Puget Sound and Southern Resident killer whales.
This document was prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service. Download the entire report, or read the Introduction below. Portions of this document were originally published in June 2013 and were updated in February 2014.