2022-2026 ACTION AGENDA EXPLORER

STRATEGY C

Research & Monitoring

Coordinate and invest in research and monitoring to support Puget Sound recovery.
Focused, relevant research and monitoring is an important foundation for Puget Sound recovery work. This strategy focuses on how social and natural science research and monitoring projects can improve policy choices and adaptive management and increase access to and use of more diverse ways of knowing. Scientific research and monitoring help us understand how and to what degree human activities affect the health of Puget Sound, and what efforts are most effective in reducing the negative pressures from these activities. Science programs illuminate the impact of current and past recovery efforts and the work that remains to achieve a healthier Puget Sound for all.

Actions for this strategy include leveraging and directing funding to high-priority research and monitoring projects, developing the capacity for effectiveness monitoring and assessment, improving incorporation of Indigenous knowledge in research and monitoring, broadening, coordinating the knowledge network within the Salish Sea ecosystem, and improving science communication. This strategy also highlights the need to better incorporate human wellbeing considerations across recovery activities and amplifies the need for more interdisciplinary and transboundary research on how the wellbeing of people and nature depend on one another.
Actions

Direct and leverage funding and investments to advance science, monitoring, and adaptive management for Puget Sound recovery. (ID #121)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Develop, fund, and maintain an online searchable database to serve as a comprehensive clearinghouse of scientific information and expertise for use by the Puget Sound protection and recovery community;
  • Select and fund investigations that address priority research objectives and work actions in the Science  Work Plan for 2020-2024 through Partnership awards for Puget Sound scientific research and monitoring to Accelerate Recovery in 2021-2023 and 2023- 2025 and partners’ (for example, Sea Doc Society, Washington Sea Grant, King County, NOAA Fisheries, Department of Ecology, and Skagit River System Co-op) awards and staffing commitments to carry out investigations that align with priority research and monitoring work actions;
  • Build an ongoing research collaboration—including jointly funded investigations and a new Puget Sound fellowship program—between the Partnership and Washington Sea Grant;
  • Update the strategic plan for the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program, and develop and begin to implement an unbiased Science Work Plan for 2025-2028 that is designed to inform good policy;
  • Develop, fund, and maintain an online searchable database to serve as a comprehensive clearinghouse of scientific information and expertise for use by the Puget Sound recovery community.

Coordinate efforts to assess and report on ecosystem conditions and the effectiveness of ecosystem recovery strategies and actions. (ID #122)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Coordinate PSEMP in increasingly open, transparent, and inclusive ways;
  • Ensure that local, long-term, and inherently efficient volunteer monitoring programs are well funded, maintained, regionally respected, and designed to offer the added benefit of educating and involving the public;
  • Review and adapt the quality, depth, and breadth of research, monitoring, and assessment and the networks through which scientists collaborate and engage with policy makers, science-policy interfaces, and program managers;
  • Follow, assess, and report on Puget Sound indicators
  • Develop and apply innovative tools to understand ecosystem conditions as they change over time, and to predict and document those changes; ensure that reporting systems are piloted with partners (for example, LIOs);
  • Analyze and synthesize existing information, especially using Puget Sound indicators, to evaluate and report on the ecosystem conditions and the effects of recovery efforts, giving greater attention to inequities in the distribution of environmental burdens and recovery efforts;
  • Foster exploration and discovery through coordination of subject matter experts and through comprehensive assessments (such as cumulative effects evaluations) and interdisciplinary investigations;
  • Communicate scientific research and monitoring information, on a regular basis, to policy makers, program managers, and the public at large, to achieve greater and sustained support for evidenced-based policy and management decisions critical for achieving goals and objectives;
  • Ensure local volunteer monitoring programs are well funded, maintained, regionally respected, and designed to offer the added benefit of educating and involving the public;
  • Ensure that reporting systems are Beta tested and will work for a variety of partners who will use them, including LIOs.

Implement priority science work actions from the Science Work Plan for 2020-2024. (ID #182)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Select and fund investigations that address priority research and monitoring actions through Partnership awards for Puget Sound scientific research and Monitoring to Accelerate Recovery in 2021-2023 and 2023-2025 and partners’ awards and staffing commitments to carry out investigations that align with priority science work actions;
  • Build an ongoing research collaboration—including jointly funded investigations and a new Puget Sound fellowship program—between the Partnership and Washington Sea Grant.

Collaboratively broaden and improve the knowledge network that supports Puget Sound ecosystem recovery. (ID #183)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Learn from a diversity of partners about what is important in how the knowledge network grows from the current situation and how it functions into the future;
  • Learn from others’ experiences about governance and management approaches that have fostered broader engagement and improved network outcomes, especially those that have emphasized incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and addressed environmental justice;
  • Identify practical means by which research and monitoring programs and other knowledge providers can access and manage financial and intellectual resources to sustain management-relevant investigations and boundary spanning activities;
  • Learn from diverse partners about what makes information “legitimate” and the limitations of traditional western approaches to applied science; conduct evaluation studies to understand and amplify funding impacts;
  • Enhance networking across sectors and disciplines and among different types of programs and diverse groups of individuals across Puget Sound and the entire Salish Sea.
Implementation Considerations

No related implementation considerations at this time. 

Ongoing Programs

No related ongoing programs at this time. 

What We're Measuring

We will be successful when Puget Sound recovery decisions and overall recovery adaptive management are informed by scientific research and monitoring, evidence-based advice and recommendations, scientific review, technical syntheses, transboundary collaboration, and strategic investments in research, assessment, and ecosystem monitoring. Ongoing, sustained coordination of scientific efforts and contributions come from many individuals and institutions across all sectors within the Salish Sea ecosystem, and diverse ways of knowing are incorporated from an expansive knowledge network across the region. Information from scientific research and monitoring is disseminated to Puget Sound recovery stakeholders in a clear and timely fashion. Ongoing convening and input from the Science Panel, Social Science Advisory Committee, Salmon Science Advisory Group, PSEMP, Canadian partners, and other groups is maintained and remains essential to ensure investments in research and monitoring are made strategically. Scientific findings are translated into resonant and compelling communications, so policymakers and non-science audiences understand how to use the research and what it means for everyday life and long-term investments in the region.