RELATED ECOLOGY PROGRAMS
Puget Sound Characterization Project
What is a â€˜characterization?â€™
We use the term 'characterization' to describe the results of integrating information from several environmental assessments to provide an ecosystem view of the landscape. A characterization and other science-based information is useful for helping local governments develop:
Puget Sound Characterization
The Puget Sound Characterization is a regional-scale tool that highlights the most important areas to protect, and restore, and those most suitable for development. The program, funded by an EPA grant, is a collaborative effort between Ecology, the Puget Sound Partnership, and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Characterization covers the entire Puget Sound drainage area — from the Olympic Mountains on the west to the Cascades on the east, including the San Juan Islands.
The Characterization includes watershed assessments of:
The assessments prioritize small watersheds, or habitat areas, relative to one another for their protection and restoration value.
The program should help planners in the Puget Sound region make better decisions about land use and effective protection, restoration, and conservation strategies for the Soundâ€™s natural resources by:
Water assessment status
The water flow and quality assessments for each of the large Puget Sound watersheds, or Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs), are complete. Maps of the results and data for the water assessments are available for download on Ecology's GIS page for this project. The files are contained in a geodatabase that includes:
For a general introduction to the water assessments, see our guide for local planners: Puget Sound Watershed Characterization: Introduction to the Water Flow Assessment for Puget Sound, July 2010. This document provides examples of how planners can use the information for planning decisions and how it is currently being applied. It contains a general description of:
For a detailed description of the Characterization, see the final technical document: Puget Sound Characterization - Volume 1: The Water Resource Assessments (Water Flow and Water Quality). This document describes methods, models, and analyses for the water flow and water quality assessment of Puget Sound WRIAs, as well as methods and guidance for applying the model results.
Peer review of the habitat assessments is complete, and included models for:
The final document describing the habitat assessment methods, models, analyses, and guidance for application of results to Puget Sound watersheds will be released in 2013.
Future grant supported work
Ecology, the Partnership, and Fish and Wildlife continue to work on:
Colin F. Hume, Coordinator
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