Prior to 2019, the PSEMP web pages were maintained at this Google site. In 2019, the Puget Sound Partnership created a new PSEMP web page that provides links to related content stored within box.com notes.

Organizational documents:

Organizational history

1989: Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program (PSAMP) begins data collection at 50 locations across ecosystem (1990 PSAMP report, pg. 1) with the goal of evaluating the effectiveness of the Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan.

1990: (see sidebar in Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce) (additional reports in 1991/2/3/4/8 and 2002/7; see WDFW 1992-1999 summary).

1991: WA Dept. of Wildlife (now WDFW) starts monitoring marine birds & mammals under PSAMP; aerial surveys begin in summer, 1992.

1995: program review to improve the integration and breadth of PSAMP’s assessments and improve PSAMP’s links to management decisions.

1996: The Legislature forms the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team, PSWQAT, and the Puget Sound Council. It directs PSWQAT to develop and implement biennial work plans to protect Puget Sound. The executives of 10 state agencies, a city and a county representative, and the regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency make up the Action Team. The Puget Sound Council members are appointed by the governor to represent key stakeholder groups in Puget Sound and includes two members appointed by the Legislature. The Council advises the Action Team, recommending actions to protect the Sound and reviewing progress in implementing the work plans. (Ref sidebar in 1997 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce article).

1997: PSWAT issued the 1997-99 Puget Sound Water Quality Work Plan (see Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce article)

1998: Scott Redmond reports on PSAMP progress and plans at the EPA’s National Water Quality Monitoring Council conference (see NWQMC98 Proceedings). As of 1998, PSAMP is built around a coordinating structure that involves the staff and accesses the resources of eight implementing agencies: the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team; Washington state departments of Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, Health, and Natural Resources; King County’s Department of Natural Resources; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the EPA. The Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team coordinates the program with the assistance of representatives of the implementing agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Jul, 2007: a “Puget Sound assessment and monitoring program” is called for within the legislation that established the Puget Sound Partnership (Leadership Council, Executive Director, Ecosystem Coordination Board, & Science Panel).

Jul 2010 – Feb 2011: Launch Committee drafts PSEMP Charter and Leadership Council endorses

Jul 2011: Steering Committee adopts the PSEMP Charter

Fall 2018: PSEMP adopts 2018-2022 strategic plan (clarifying alignment with the Action Agenda, which charts the course for Puget Sound recovery, and the Implementation Strategies, which prioritize activities to advance Vital Sign recovery).

Membership of launch, steering, and other committees


Old “About Us” text (Sep. 2014, (from the old Google site)):

Monitoring is essential to our efforts to recover Puget Sound!  

The Puget Sound Partnership is helping to organize, convene, and support the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment Program. This monitoring program is called for in our enabling statute (RCW 90.71.290), the Action Agenda (Near Term Action E.3.1), the Strategic Science Plan, and the Biennial Science Work Plan.  The Program was developed with the help of a Launch Committee which met from July 2010 – February 2011.  The Launch Committee drafted a proposed Charter and structure for the Program, which was unanimously endorsed by the Leadership Council.  The Partnership subsequently convened a Steering Committee in June 2011, and program development began in earnest.    The Charter endorsed by the Leadership Council describes an independent monitoring program and Steering Committee that works collaboratively across all participating agencies and organizations but does not report directly to the Partnership.  The Partnership supports and assists the Program, and helps facilitate communication with and between the Partnership’s  programs, the Puget Sound Science Panel, the Ecosystem Coordination Board, and the Leadership Council.  The basic structure and organization of the Monitoring Program is depicted below:   

The main purpose of the Coordinated Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment program is to evaluate progress towards ecosystem recovery and to serve as a foundation to continually improve the scientific basis for management actions in the Puget Sound. Our goal is to work with all of our partners to coordinate monitoring efforts to provide credible, high quality and accessible monitoring findings for our partners, decision-makers, and ultimately, the public.

The “Charter & By-laws” page (from the old Google site):

Monitoring Program Charter
The current monitoring program charter, as endorsed by the Puget Sound Leadership Council in February, 2011 and adopted by the Steering Committee on July 7, 2011 can be found here:

Steering Committee By-Laws
The Steering Committee originally adopted these by-laws at the July 7, 2011 meeting.  They were subsequently updated in April 2012 to reflect minor changes and updates (e.g. correcting the name to PSEMP). 

2016 Poster re PSEMP (Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference 2016)

Ken presented a poster on PSEMP in Vancouver with this abstract:

Ken DzinbalPuget Sound Partnership

Presentation Abstract

The responsibility for environmental monitoring in Puget Sound is distributed across dozens of different agencies, organizations, tribes, citizen groups, and others. Consequently, monitoring data are widely distributed, programs are separately managed, and reporting and assessment functions are dispersed. In 2011, the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program was chartered to create a collaborative, inclusive, and transparent approach to regional monitoring and assessment that builds upon and facilitates communication among these many monitoring programs and efforts operating across the region. PSEMPS’s objective is to assess the condition and changes over time of the Puget Sound ecosystem as well as the effectiveness of recovery actions, strategies, and programs. PSEMP does this by providing a venue for collaboration, coordination, collective guidance, communication and discussion among monitoring agencies and organizations operating at different scales to meet a variety of goals and objectives. PSEMP is organized around a Steering Committee and twelve topical work groups spanning the majority of ecosystem components and monitoring efforts. PSEMP operates as a semi-independent collaborative body that is housed within the Puget Sound Partnership. PSEMP’s organizational structure and relationship to the main Puget Sound policy boards is illustrated graphically, and several examples of PSEMP products and publications are described.

PSAMP, PSWQAT, and PSEMP publication history

Notes from monitoring inventory summary (~2013)

Historical excerpts from the Southern Resident Killer Whale Vital Sign Gap Analysis and 2012 Marine Mammal Monitoring Program Inventory, authored by the PSEMP Marine Mammals sub-committee:

PSEMP is directed by a Steering Committee, first convened in 2011. Since that time, the PSEMP commissioned eight technical topic-based workgroups to help implement the objectives of the program.


The PSEMP steering committee commissioned a “Birds and Mammals” monitoring workgroup. The entire workgroup met seven times since December 2011. Starting in October 2012, the workgroup split into a birds sub-committee and a mammals sub-committee so they could each advance the tasks with some focus on their respective topic. The Mammal Monitoring Sub-Committee has met twice since October 2012 to review and update the inventory of mammal monitoring programs in Puget Sound, and to discuss the gaps analysis framework.


More to explore via the Wayback Machine?