Sample Design and Methods - Historical Marine Sediment Monitoring


Environmental Management Application

The Puget Sound Assessment and Monitoring Program’s (PSAMP) historical sediment monitoring program provided the first large scale evaluation of Puget Sound sediment quality at ambient (i.e., away from point sources of contamination) stations throughout the Sound.

Seven years of baseline data gave environmental managers a comprehensive look at sediment conditions around Puget Sound, and provided a basis for examining both natural and anthropogenic (human-caused) changes over time. A subset of 10 Historical Monitoring stations is still monitored today for this purpose by the Long-Term Monitoring Program.

Historical Monitoring Element Design

From 1989-1995, Ecology scientists collected sediment samples from 76 stations throughout Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and the Strait of Georgia for the PSAMP sediment component. Thirty-four stations were sampled annually. The remaining 42 stations were sampled on a three-year rotational schedule in north, central, and south Puget Sound. The majority of these stations were purposefully located at a distance from known sources of contamination.

The Sediment Quality Triad of parameters, including sediment chemicals, laboratory tests of sediment toxicity, and characterization of sediment-dwelling invertebrates known as benthos, were measured from sediments collected from each station. Because of the non-random placement of station locations, individual stations could be characterized, but no information on the spatial extent of contamination could be calculated regionally or Puget Sound-wide.



Striplin, P.L., 1988.  Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program:  Marine Sediment Quality Implementation Plan.  Washington State Department of Ecology, Environmental Investigations and Laboratory Services Program, Olympia, WA.  Publication No. 88e-37.