Puget Sound has been designated as an estuary of National Significance under section 320 of the Clean Water Act.
The goal of all 28 National Estuary Programs is to attain and maintain water quality in designated estuaries that would assure protection of public water supplies and the protection
and propagation of a balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish and wildlife and allows recreational activities in and on the water.
The goal of the Puget Sound National Estuary Program approved Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) (the 2020 Action Agenda) is to restore and maintain the Puget Sound Estuary"s estuarine environment, by 2020, so that it will support balanced indigenous populations of shellfish, fish and wildlife and support the extensive list of recognized uses of Puget Sound.
In the FFY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Puget Sound restoration funds are provided to develop and implement programs that will help meet the Clean Water Act goal of improved water quality as well as improved air quality and minimization of the adverse impacts of rapid development in the Puget Sound Basin, including activities linked to nonpoint sources or habitat restoration work.
Programs and projects would promote the use of comprehensive watershed protection and management practices at the local level to achieve nonpoint source pollution reduction and protection and restoration of habitat and aquatic resources in watersheds that are subject to the pressures of development and growth.
In the FFY 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congress appropriated an additional $50 million to support the Puget Sound Program.
By 2011, EPA Region 10, working with its key state, tribal and local partners have committed to attaining the following environmental outcomes for the Puget Sound Basin through 2011:
" 1,000 acres of shellfish bed growing areas, currently impacted by degraded or declining water quality, show improved water quality and corresponding lifting of harvest restrictions;
" 200 acres of prioritized contaminated sediments are remediated and upstream source controls are put in place;
" 3,500 acres of tidally or seasonally influenced estuarine wetlands are restored and protected.
In addition, by 2011, the EPA is committed to protecting and improving water quality and minimizing the adverse impacts of rapid development in the Puget Sound Basin.
These commitments include protecting the watersheds and waters of Puget Sound by protecting the fundamental watershed processes that provide and create aquatic habitats and by reducing the generation and release of toxic, nutrient and pathogen pollution.
An essential element of a successful estuary conservation and management program is a well-informed citizenry that is willing and able to take individual and community action to protect and enhance the estuary.
This program is aimed at building and sustaining coordinated efforts for outreach and education to increase public awareness and encourage individual stewardship to protect both local and basin-wide ecosystems.
Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2010: In Federal Fiscal Year 2010, the EPA"s priority will be to competitively select and fund a single entity to serve as a leader and manager of an Outreach, Education and Stewardship Program for Puget Sound.
It is expected that this entity would be funded to both directly implement the program and implement the program through subawards to other eligible entities.