USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The Issue: Puget Sound, WA, is the second largest estuary in the United States and its unique geology, climate, and nutrient-rich waters sustain biologically-productive terrestrial, coastal, and marine habitats. Development and associated human activities have significantly degraded the Sound, causing declines in fish and wildlife populations, water-quality issues, and losses of critical habitats. Restoration of Puget Sound is recognized as an urgent national priority, resulting in multiple restoration programs coordinated by the Puget Sound Partnership.
How USGS will help: The USGS is developing a coastal monitoring Network for Puget Sound that meets the goals of the National Water Quality Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and their Tributaries, while also being well aligned with existing Federal and cooperative monitoring efforts in the region. To address known data gaps concerning sediment and toxic chemical loads to Puget Sound from large rivers, the USGS has developed and is implementing a protocol for rapid stream-side deployment of continuous-flow centrifuges to collect suspended sediment from large volumes of water for chemical analysis.