Puget Sound Olympia

Municipal Stormwater

Status and Trends in Receiving Waters

The goal of the Status and Trends in Receiving Waters element of SAM is to measure changes in the Puget Lowland streams and Puget Sound urban shoreline areas as a result of stormwater management. For the Receiving Waters element of SAM, 81 of 84 eligible Western Washington Phase I and II Municipal Stormwater Permittees chose to participate via the cost sharing program. Washington State Department of Transportation also opted to participate via their permit option in 2014. Two Municipal Stormwater permittees chose to conduct status and trends monitoring in their jurisdictional areas similar to SAM.

Timeline for permittee-funded work:

Key Interim Findings

Puget Lowland Ecoregion Streams


  • Summer 2014: initial field site confirmation by USGS
  • Fall 2014: QAPP and Appendices published
  • January-December 2015: monthly water quality visits at 60 sites
  • July-October 2015: single visit for watershed health (bugs, habitat, and sediment) monitoring visit at all sites (95 – 100)
  • January-June 2016: determination of spatial weights, GIS, metric calculations, statistical analysis
  • Fall 2016: interim findings for status assessment of sampled streams by strata in terms of flow, water and sediment chemistry, habitat, benthic macroinvertebrate and periphyton data
  • Fall 2016: interim findings for comparison of RSMP small streams to other probabilistic programs such as Option 2 data, Ecology’s Ambient Health and Lower Columbia design and also to targeted programs in Puget Sound Counties and USGS data gathered locally for 2015 National Water-Quality Assessment.
  • Winter 2016: Final report on RSMP Small Streams Status assessment and recommendations for Trends monitoring.

Data Analysis and Reporting

Field and laboratory data from the RSMP's stream sampling in the Puget Lowland Ecoregion Streams (PLES) are stored in Ecology's EIM Database under the Study ID of RSMP_PLES. Habitat data is only available from the Focus Area “Status & Trends Habitat Monitoring” search tool. All other chemistry, benthic invertebrate and periphyton data, search using the main EIM search page.

A team of experts from USGS, King County, Ecology and Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) are working together to analyze the small streams data gathered in 2015.

Draft report (Winter 2016) | Final report (Summer 2017)

Inter-laboratory Comparison Study

A modest effort was made to compare results of split water and sediment samples from the two main labs used for RSMP Streams. The labs were King County Environmental Laboratory (KCEL) and Manchester Environmental Laboratory (MEL), and the inter-laboratory comparison was described in the QAPP. Results showed the two labs generated very comparable data for all evaluated parameters. The RSMP streams project data are considered high quality from both labs.

RSMP Small Streams Data Analysis Agreements, Tasks and Deliverables

Scope of Work for USGS, King County. There is no formal agreement with EAP, but deliverable-like memos will describe their work.

USGS provided cooperative funds for stage data collection: Scope of Work, D1 Memo.

Task 1: Streams Status Assessment

Key Deliverables for Task 1

Task 2: Comparison of probabilistic monitoring results to targeted monitoring program results

Key Deliverables for Task 2

Comparison memos to other (probabilistic or targeted) study designs (Ecology's Ambient-Reference-Sentinel sites, USGS, Option 2, Lower Columbia Habitat Status and Trends Monitoring)
Task 3: Recommendations for future RSMP small streams monitoring

Key Deliverables for Task 3

Task 4: Project Management

Quarterly reports from King County (Deliverable 4.1)

RSMP Stream Monitoring occurred January-December 2015

RSMP stream sites were selected from EPA's GRTS randomized Master Sample list. The area of selection was the Puget Sound Lowland Ecoregion with a target on small to mid-size streams. Two distinct strata are being sampled: outside the urban growth area (OUGA) and within the urban growth areas (WUGA). Streams monitoring followed this Quality Assurance Progress Plan (QAPP), Appendices and QAPP addendum.

Monthly Water Quality
Water quality was measured monthly at 60 sites (30 OUGA and 30 WUGA) for:
  • Conventional: (DO, pH, conductivity, temperature, DOC, chloride, fecal coliform, hardness, NH3, NO2+NO3, Total N, Total P, ortho P, TSS and turbidity)
  • Metals: totals and dissolved (Ag, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn)
  • Organics: PAHs
  • Stage and stream discharge
Watershed Health Monitoring (once summer 2015)
Water, sediment, benthic invertebrates, periphyton and habitat quality were measured at 100 sites (50 OUGA and 50 WUGA) for:
  • Water Quality: (DO, pH, conductivity, temperature, NH3, NO2+NO3, Total N, Total P, TSS and turbidity)
  • Benthic macroinvertebrates: 8ft2
  • Physical Habitat: (full protocol which includes 251 metrics: e.g. riparian vegetation, sediment size, slope, bankfull width, LWD, discharge, etc)
  • Periphyton: Ecology’s updated protocol
  • Stream Sediments:
    • <2mm sieve size: Grain size, TOC, percent solids, phthalates, PAHs, PCB congeners, and 106 common residential and road use pesticides
    • <63um sieve size: Metals (Ag, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn), and TOC

RSMP Small Streams Monitoring Team Agreements, Tasks and Deliverables

Four partners conducted field monitoring for RSMP Puget Lowland small stream sites.

Contracted Member #WQ sites #WH sites Scope of Work Deliverables
(site selection and quarterly reports)
USGS 34 55 SOW Amendment A Task 1, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4
King County Environmental Laboratory 20 37 SOW Amendment1 Task 1, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4
Lab: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4
Skagit County 6 0 SOW Amendment1 Task 1, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4
San Juan Island Conservation District 1 0 SOW Amendment1 Task 1, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

Puget Marine Nearshore Mussels

This map shows the list of original candidate sites for the SAM marine monitoring efforts.

SAM mussel monitoring is getting started and is building on the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) pilot mussel effort in 2012/13. WDFW is the project lead. For more information contact Jennifer Lanksbury.


  • Spring 2015: QAPP published
  • Summer 2015: site confirmation
  • October 2015 – January 2016: mussels deployed to 40 sites
  • Spring 2016: mussel lab analysis
  • Winter 2016: data analysis
  • Summer 2017: Final report on round one
  • October 2017 - February 2018: mussels deployed for round two
  • Spring 2018: mussel lab analysis
  • Winter 2018: data analysis
  • Summer 2019: Final report on round two

WDFW Monitoring Lead and Volunteers

Monitoring conducted using Permittees pooled funds will follow this Scope of Work, Amendment 1
Table of candidate marine nearshore sites

WDFW Deliverables Links
Quality Assurance Project Plan* Final QAPP
Volunteers List
Confirmed sites List and map
Mussel preparation Confirmation
Spending Mussels monitoring equipment expenses, volunteer reimbursements
Site conditions Deployment and retrieval data
Mussel Analysis Mortality report and bench sheets, chemistry invoices, chemistry review
Report Development Outline, presentation at Spring 2017 SAM symposium, NEW 9/19/2017 SAM 2015/16 Mussel Monitoring Survey - Final Report
*Option 2 Permittee (Pierce County) will be incorporated into the WDFW QAPP for marine mussel monitoring.

Results and Findings

Field and laboratory data that are reviewed and approved by the SAM Coordinator are uploaded to the Ecology’s EIM Database under Study ID RSMP_MNM2015.

Fact sheet coming soon!

WDFW Project Website Link for volunteers

Puget Marine Nearshore Sediment

Monitoring of the RSMP marine sediments along the urban growth area shorelines occurred in the summer of 2016. For more information contact Robert Black (USGS) email rwblack@usgs.gov

Anticipated Timeline

  • Spring 2016: QAPP
  • Summer 2016: sample collection
  • Spring 2017: Data analysis
  • Fall 2017: Final report

ArcGIS web map for the sediment sampling locations

RSMP Nearshore Sediment Sites – 8x11 Map


SAM nearshore sediment monitoring in Puget Sound occurred in Summer 2016 and built on existing efforts at the Washington State Department of Ecology and United States Geological Survey (USGS). USGS is the monitoring lead, with assistance from Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and King County (KC).

Monitoring conducted using Permittees pooled funds will follow this Ecology approved QAPP. Each team member’s Scope of Work for this project vary and can be followed in the table below.

Deliverables USGS SOW King County SOW DNR SOW
Quality Assurance Project Plan Draft and final Draft comments - KC Draft comments - DNR
Candidate sites Map and list NA NA
Sampling USGS equipment costs, field data Equipment list - KC, field data, status report field sampling effort
Data Management NA QA/QC review, inter-lab comparison, LLOQ report comparison NA
Sample Shipping USGS status report KC status report
Report Development Draft and final Draft comments - KC Draft comments - DNR

Results and Findings

Field and laboratory data, once available and approved by the RSMP Coordinator, will be uploaded to Ecology’s EIM Database under RSMP_MNS2015.

Shoreline Bacteria

SAM marine shoreline bacteria data analysis is tentatively planned to begin in 2016. The pooled resources oversight committee determined the bacteria effort will compile multiple state and local government bacteria datasets around Puget Sound urban shorelines in lieu of a full monitoring program. The goal is to learn from the existing data sets collected from cities, counties, DOH and Ecology and make recommendations on shoreline bacteria monitoring for the next cycle of SAM. A lead agency is not yet determined. For more information contact Brandi Lubliner.

Anticipated Timeline

  • Spring 2016: Scope of Work
  • Summer – Fall 2016: Data collection and analysis
  • Spring 2017: Report and recommendations

ArcGIS web map for the bacteria sampling

SAM Bacteria Compilation Data Sources – 8x11 Map

Monitoring Lead (to be determined)

EAP Deliverables Links
Table of organizations and individuals contacted D1
Summary memo with table describing fecal indicator bacteria programs around Puget Sound D2.1 Memo
revised Table 2
D2.2 Map
Assembled and analyzed nearshore (along UGA) fecal indicator data D3 Final Report
D3.2A Presentation to SWG
D3.2B Spring 2017 SAM Symposium presentation
D3.3 Factsheet (2pager)

Woolrich, 2012 – Bacteria monitoring program description

Option 2 Monitoring

Information is provided below for the permittees who may chose Option 2, to conduct their own monitoring instead of the Option 1 cost sharing Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program (RSMP). Option 2 monitoring results are comparable to Option 1 monitoring results, though are more jurisdictionally specific than the larger program.

2013 Scope of Work (SOW) for permittees opting to conduct their own status and trends monitoring in Puget Sound.


Small stream monitoring Option 2 permittees:


Marine Mussel Monitoring QAPP - Appendix C specific to Pierce County
Marine Sediment QAPP submitted by Pierce County
Bacteria Monitoring QAPP submitted by Pierce County