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 that allows for 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 both the FFY 2009 and FFY 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Acts, Puget Sound restoration funds are provided to develop and implement programs in the Puget Sound basin that will help meet the Clean Water Act goal of protecting and maintaining the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the basin"s waters and to help minimize the adverse impacts of future development and population growth.
These programs are likely to address a broad scope of threats and resource protection issues, including activities linked to nonpoint source pollution, habitat, and watershed restoration and protection work.
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:
" 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, we are 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.
This program has the following main objectives:
First, a central component of the approved CCMP for Puget Sound is its Biennial Science Workplan which identifies some of the core scientific work that must be completed in order for the Puget Sound Management Conference"s implementation efforts, to succeed in the recovery and protection of the Sound.
A primary objective of this program is to support the technical studies and investigations that are needed to help direct implementation priorities.
Second, by 2012, EPA and the Puget Sound Partnership will need to propose new five year strategic plan outcomes and targets for Puget Sound.
The Scientific Studies and Technical Investigations sought through this program will help support identification of specific environmental outcomes and also the development of tracking and evaluation approaches for implementation activities, so that together they will contribute significantly to the restoration and protection of Puget Sound by 2020.
Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2010: The key funding priority for FFY 2010 is to assist in the completion of near term science projects and technical investigations that are either identified in the Biennial Science Work Plan or are identified as necessary to support the attainment of specific environmental outcomes identified by the 2020 Action Agenda for Puget Sound and its associated work programs and implementing agreements.
Additionally, a second priority will be to follow up on work initiated in FFY 2008 and 2009 to assist with the development and completion of scientific studies and technical investigations necessary for implementing the Action Agenda and achieving targeted environmental outcomes.
A third priority in 2010 will be to provide financial assistance to support the state of Washington"s efforts to help implement, manage and monitor progress of the 2020 Action Agenda for Puget Sound (the CCMP).
Dependent on the availability of sufficient funds, this program would offer additional assistance for implementation of the priority actions and programs identified in the 2020 Action Agenda for Puget Sound.
The Region is planning to issue several competitive requests for proposals late in FFY 2010 that address needs within this last priority including one focused on managing the implementation of the Action Agenda, one focused on watershed protection and restoration, one focused on ecosystem restoration and protection, one focused on toxics and nutrients reduction control, one focused on pathogens and one focused on nearshore and shoreline protection and restoration.
Finally, as directed by the appropriations language, the EPA expects to make an award of $4,000,000 in FFY 2010 to the University of Washington for a Puget Sound Ecosystem Research Initiative.