Sample Design and Methods - Long-Term and Historical Marine Sediment Monitoring

Environmental Management Application

Continued annual monitoring of sediments at 10 historical PSAMP stations provides environmental managers with a valuable long-term record of changes in sediment quality over time. Managers can use this information to identify temporal trends in sediment quality that:

  • Raise “red flags” highlighting issues of concern in Puget Sound.
  • Measure the magnitude of environmental changes occurring either slowly (e.g., contaminant loading from stormwater runoff, global warming) or rapidly (e.g., introduction of invasive species, major oil spills).

Long-Term and Historical Sampling Design

Since 1989, the Marine Sediment Monitoring Component has collected sediment samples from 10 long-term stations located throughout Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and the Strait of Georgia. Sediments are analyzed to determine chemical concentrations at 5-year intervals and the composition of sediment-dwelling invertebrate (benthos) communities annually (sampling schedule) (parameter list).

Each station was chosen from the list of 73 Historical Monitoring Program stations because it exhibited one or more of the following properties:

  • An extensive (20+ years) historical database exists for the station.
  • The station data correspond with and support ongoing fisheries and water column monitoring.
  • The station is characterized by a unique assemblage of benthic invertebrates.

This long-term monitoring program provides a record of past and current conditions in Puget Sound sediments, and is the only long-term program providing both standardized chemistry and benthic invertebrate data throughout the Sound.


Quality Assurance Project Plan

Dutch, M., V. Partridge, S. Weakland, K. Welch, E. Long. 2009. Quality Assurance Project Plan: The Puget Sound Assessment and Monitoring Program Sediment Monitoring Component. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication No. 09-03-121, 98 pp.