The statutory requirements for reporting focus primarily on the funding and implementation of the Action Agenda. Key concepts and terms related to the Action Agenda and referred to in the reports include the following:

Action Agenda

A prioritized set of actions and programs for directing resources for Puget Sound recovery in an efficient and effective way. The Action Agenda development process is science-based, derived through a regionwide process that includes participation from federal, state, local, tribal, nonprofit, private, and other interests, and is managed by the Partnership through an adaptive management framework.

Adaptive management

The process of continuous improvement based on new data, analysis, and learning.


An assessment of priority science for restoring and protecting Puget Sound, with research priority recommendations for the biennium. This document, which is prepared by the Science Panel to accompany biennial updates of the Action Agenda, identifies the near-term science activities and capacities needed to support ecosystem recovery and makes recommendations about how science can better support recovery.

Implementation Strategies

These are discrete, sequenced schematic plans for achieving the Puget Sound 2020 ecosystem recovery targets. Each target is associated with at least one indicator. The plans are designed to inform the Puget Sound Action Agenda, the Biennial Science Work Plan, and salmon recovery planning. Each Implementation Strategy accomplishes the following:

  • Identifies priority approaches for achieving a specific recovery target.
  • Assesses and combines elements of local and regional recovery efforts, ongoing programs, Near Term Actions from the Puget Sound Action Agenda, and ecosystem pressures from the Puget Sound Pressure Assessment.
  • Identifies monitoring activities, research priorities, and adaptive management components.
  • Identifies key geographic areas associated with the recovery target.
  • Estimates costs of achieving the recovery target.

Near Term Actions (NTAs)

Discrete, measurable actions that clearly contribute to achieving the recovery targets and which can reasonably be accomplished within 2 years. The status of NTAs can be found on the interactive Action Agenda Report Card website and reported in the State of the Sound: Report to the Governor and Legislature.

Ongoing programs

Continuing efforts—including regulatory, oversight, technical support, guidance, or other efforts—are distinguished from Near Term Actions because they are not discrete recovery actions.

Performance management

Systems for continuous learning and aligning of management actions for the greatest beneficial outcome for the resources expended. The Partnership uses multiple tracking, learning, and implementation systems to manage performance. Tools include the Report Card, the State of the Sound, the Vital Signs, and recently initiated effectiveness work. The 2020 and interim targets provide long- and medium-range targets.

Strategic Initiative

Three Strategic Initiatives have been used historically to prioritize actions in the Action Agenda around the following three recovery areas:

  • Prevent Pollution from Stormwater
  • Protect and Restore Habitat
  • Recover Shellfish Beds

Moving forward, the prioritization process is transitioning to a more refined approach that will rely more heavily on the Implementation Strategies.


As used in the Action Agenda, this is a categorizing device to refer to a set of actions with a common approach to achieve similar goals and objectives.


Like a Strategy, a Substrategy is also a categorizing device, but one layer more specific than the Strategy, providing a finer level of detail based upon which Near Term Actions can be developed.


A quantitative milestone for recovering a specific component of the Puget Sound ecosystem. The Action Agenda specifies targets for 16 Vital Signs to be met by the year 2020, as well as interim targets for 12 Vital Signs to be met by 2014, 2016, and 2018.

  • 2020 ecosystem recovery target: The desired future condition of human health and wellbeing, species and food webs, habitats, water quantity, and water quality. The 2020 targets are policy statements that were adopted by the Leadership Council as aspirational goals to motivate and reflect the region’s commitment to ecosystem recovery. They are not regulatory in nature.
  • Interim targets. These provide shorter-term milestones for measuring progress toward the 2020 ecosystem recovery targets and inform adaptive management actions. They are aligned with the goals, indicators, and recovery targets of Vital Signs. This State of the Sound Report assesses achievement of the 2014 interim targets.

Vital Signs

The Partnership tracks 21 Vital Signs to report on progress toward the six Puget Sound recovery goals established by the Legislature: healthy human population, vibrant quality of life, thriving species and food webs, protected and restored habitat, healthy water quality, and abundant water quantity. The Vital Signs represent overarching measures for determining the health of Puget Sound.

Vital Sign Indicators

This set of measures was chosen as a general gauge of Puget Sound health. These specific and measurable metrics represent associated Vital Signs. Examples of indicators include eelgrass acreage under the Eelgrass Vital Sign, Chinook salmon abundance under the Chinook Vital Sign, and the number of Southern Resident Killer Whales under the Orca Vital Sign. Each Vital Sign is represented by one or more indicators. Because many indicators are assigned quantitative targets, they provide a mechanism for measuring progress toward a specific goal. The Vital Sign indicators are used to inform policy makers and the public about the condition of the Puget Sound ecosystem at different points in time and to give us indications of trends and connections in the system.