Puget Sound National Estuary Program

The National Estuary Program (NEP) is a place-based initiative to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. Under NEP, the Puget Sound Action Agenda is the regions federally approved Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. The Puget Sound Geographic Funds (commonly called NEP funds) are authorized by Congress and awarded by the US EPA. As a Strategic Initiative Lead the Department of Health works with many partners and helps to implement priority work of the Action Agenda specifically towards advancing the Shellfish Beds Vital Sign indicator.

EPA Cooperative Agreements

We are currently managing two separate EPA cooperative agreements which address pollution issues in Puget Sound.

Shellfish Strategic Initiative (2021-2028)

The most recent Shellfish Strategic Initiative work plan continues the work of the first award to reduce fecal coliform pollution and increase harvestable shellfish acres. While previous work focused on implementing near-term actions identified in the Puget Sound Action Agenda, this addresses key priorities and strategies and works to solicit and fund projects with pass through sub-awards. This work is in support of the revised Shellfish Bed Vital Sign target: to achieve a net gain of at least 500 acres approved for shellfish harvest each year.

This work relies on strong partnerships and DOH has worked to be the hub of a regional network of local health jurisdictions (LHJs) and pollution identification and correction (PIC) programs engaged in front-line pathogen pollution prevention and water quality protection. In recent years, we have engaged with and strengthened working relationships with our local, state, federal and tribal partners in carrying out our past and current National Estuary Program (NEP) Pathogens Lead Organization and Shellfish Strategic Initiative grants. We’ve worked with these various partners to:

  • Identify recovery goals, priorities, indicators, and performance measures.
  • Implement activities and programs.
  • Maintain long-term monitoring systems.
  • Identify barriers and implement solutions.

For more information contact: Audrey Coyne, Shellfish Strategic Initiative Lead

Shellfish Strategic Initiative (2016-2023)

This cooperative agreement focuses on efforts which protect and restore shellfish beds. The Shellfish Strategic Initiative (SSI) is one of three initiatives (along with Habitat and Stormwater) that frame the Puget Sound Action Agenda. The Department of Health serves as the lead for the initiative in partnership with the Washington Departments of Ecology and Agriculture. In this role we also facilitate an Advisory Team. Learn more about the Strategic Initiatives.

The Shellfish Initiative is unique in that it has worked towards a specific target: a net increase of 10,800 acres of harvestable shellfish bed acres between 2007 and 2020, including 7,000 acres where harvest had been prohibited.

More info for Funded Projects for years 2016-2020


Prior Awards