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Coastal EMAP in Washington State: Estuaries, Intertidal and Offshore

Valerie A. Partridge 1 and Sarah L. Wilson 2

1 Washington State Department of Ecology (WA Ecology), Olympia, Washington
2 Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR), Olympia, Washington

The Coastal Component of EMAP-West is a partnership of the U.S. EPA, NOAA, and the states of California, Oregon, and Washington to measure the condition of the estuaries, intertidal zones, and offshore waters of these three states. Sampling was done in 1999-2001 (estuaries), 2002 (intertidal), and 2003 (continental shelf). This program is an integrated, comprehensive coastal monitoring program using a spatially-balanced probabilistic design and a common set of survey indicators. Because of the compatible design, coastal conditions can be described and compared at the state, EPA regional, biogeographical, and national levels. Data were collected for a suite of parameters including biotic condition indicators (e.g., benthic infaunal and demersal fish diversity and abundance), abiotic/pollutant exposure condition indicators (dissolved oxygen concentration, sediment and fish-tissue contaminants, and acute sediment toxicity), and general habitat condition indicators (e.g., depth, salinity, temperature, chlorophyll-a, nutrients, and sediment characteristics). This presentation provides a statistical summary of the data from the sampling of the estuarine systems in Washington, as well as a comparison of some sediment chemistry across the estuarine and intertidal environments. This presentation also provides a brief summary of the integration of EMAP statistical design elements into the Sediment Component of Washington State's Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program, improving Washington's ability to determine spatial and temporal characterization of regional sediment quality throughout Puget Sound. EMAP partnership work on development of a West Coast benthic index will also provide the state with methods for better interpretation of benthic infaunal assemblages monitored in Washington State.

Keywords: estuaries, intertidal, offshore, sediment, monitoring, Washington, Puget Sound.

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