Capstone Title

Assessing Water Quality Management of the Puget Sound

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Second Advisor

Steffen Schmidt


Since the mid-twentieth century, the need for effective coastal management has been recognized. This management is carried out by a variety of stakeholders and policies, which collaborate towards maintaining U.S. coasts. Throughout the last halfcentury water quality management has been of concern to the stakeholders of the Puget Sound, however changes did occur until the early 1980s when the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority emerged. Since the Authority’s inception, management planning has transformed in the region with several groups taking responsibility for producing the management plan for Puget Sound. The most comprehensive to date, and currently implemented technique, is the Marine Water Conditions Index being used by the Washington State Department of Ecology. The annually updated index uses a number of factors to assess and improve water quality through reducing environmental variability and detecting changes in baseline conditions of the Puget Sound marine environment. Improvements span from updating policies for stricter guidelines, to pollutant reduction through avenues such as improving collection of stormwater runoff. The progressive approach to water quality management in the region has been responsible for restoring, maintaining, and measures towards future reductions in toxic contaminants.

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