Transboundary Ecosystem Indicators
Ecosystem Indicator Summaries
The Puget Sound Georgia Basin Ecosystem Indicators (PDF, 202pp., 2.92MB) gives a glimpse into the environmental conditions of our home, including the interactions between over seven million people and a complex system of water, animals and tiny microorganisms. By 2020, we will add another two million people to the Basin, without a corresponding increase in land and related natural resources.
Indicators enable us to take complex scientific and social data to provide a simplified, quantified and communicated expression that anyone can understand. Blood pressure readings and the Dow-Jones industrial average are indicators. Indicators also show us where we are relative to where we want to be and as such, help us manage these complex interactions by taking small course corrections when conditions are not improving.
Using the Indicator Reports
The Indicators Report addresses the actions currently underway to help solve the problems we report on and practical tips, including Web sites and telephone numbers, so you have options with respect to daily decisions like inventory purchasing, driving, energy use, gardening, cleaning your home and influencing public policy.
Use the indicators to understand the connections between living things. Consider the Orca Killer Whale. Its northern resident pod declined by seven percent between 1997 and 2003 and the Southern Resident Pod (J, K and L pods) declined 17 percent between 1995 and 2001. Most of the resident northern and resident pods eat salmon as their primary food source. Resident Puget Sound Chinook salmon are heavily contaminated with flame retardants and plasticizers called phthalates. Other salmon are dwindling in number because their cold stream habitat has been degraded due to development practices (too much impervious surfaces and splitting land masses into fragments) and the use of certain chemicals and fertilizers that are still legal to purchase. This means that the fertilizer you use on your lawn and the neighborhood you live in, or the manufacturing process used by a local business, has an influence on these giant beauties that capture our hearts and imagination.
These indicators are not intended to guide decisions regarding where to fish, swim or shellfish. Please cross reference local phone numbers about water quality, beach closures, shellfish closures and other local restrictions. Many of these numbers are included in each indicator in the What Can I Do? sections.
Read Other Indicator Reports
- Georgia Basin-Puget Sound Ecosystem Indicators Report 2002
- EPA Report on the Environment
- Washington State Department of Ecology: Washington's Environmental Health 2004
- BC Ministry of Environment: British Columbia's Coastal Environment 2006
- Fraser Basin Council: Sustainability Indicators
- Sightline Institute: The Cascadia Scorecard
- Sustainable Seattle: Indicators of Sustainable Community
- The Heinz Center: The State of the Nation’s Ecosystems
Spread the Word and Tell Us What You Think
Please share the indicators with friends, colleagues, and social networks. Tell us the contributors what kind of environmental and community information has meaning to you in your daily lives and why. We'd like to acknowledge the following contributors to this report (PDF, 9pp., 329KB).