SAM is a collaborative, Western Washington regional stormwater monitoring program that is funded by more than 90 cities and counties, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, and the Washington State Department of Transportation. Additional funds and in-kind are contributed by other Washington state agencies, federal agencies, local businesses, and community volunteers.
All of these municipalities are covered by state municipal stormwater permits. This approach is unique since no other permit-driven monitoring in the state is defined and funded by permittees.
Collectively, municipal stormwater permittees in Western Washington spend an estimated $250 million per year to manage stormwater. About one percent of this expenditure is invested in a pooled fund dedicated to conducting this regional monitoring program. All jurisdictions — large and small — can benefit from SAM projects that are designed to produce regionally transferable findings. All permittees implement SAM findings to protect downstream waters such as lakes, streams, and bays.
The Stormwater Work Group (SWG), a formal stakeholder group, provides leadership and oversight on SAM projects. The Pooled Resources Oversight Committee (PRO-C), a subgroup of the SWG, oversees Ecology's administration of SAM's pooled resources. Ecology acts as the administrative entity that manages SAM funds and executes SAM contracts. SAM is the new name for the Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program (RSMP).
What is SAM's goal?
SAM's goal is to improve stormwater management to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and reduce flooding. To achieve this goal, SAM monitoring targets three broad strategic categories:
- Effectiveness studies — How well are required or innovative stormwater management practices working? What are the most common types of pollution in stormwater?
- Source identification — What are the common sources of illicit discharges? What are some regional solutions and elimination methods?
What to expect from SAM
SAM launched in 2014 and by the end of the permit term in June 2019 SAM funded 24 studies, which required over 40 individual agreements not including amendments. This includes four Puget Sound basin receiving water studies, 15 effectiveness studies, three source identification studies, and an ongoing contract with the Association of Washington Cities for support with communication. Roughly half of the projects were completed by the end of the permit term and almost all the study funde were obligated. The active SAM projects continue into the next permit term and new projects are guided by the June 5, 2019 SWG Recommendations.
SAM's individual project pages provide transparency for each stage of the project. When a project is complete, a SAM fact sheet is published.
The SAM Communications webpage has many products to summarize SAM findings to help stormwater professionals at all levels of government, field practitioners, and policy makers improve management practices and set funding priorities.
There are no upcoming workshops.
SAM priorities workshop was held February 27, 2019 by the SWG at the Renton Community Center. The morning and afternoon workshop materials were provided in advance for stakeholders to be prepared. Stakeholders narrowed the list of effectiveness studies and source identification project ideas. The morning study idea list was the result of a AWC survey for topics that permittees answered in fall 2018. SAM staff described the proposed updates to the status and trends monitoring design in the afternoon, and solicited feedback on stakeholder priorities for the flexible aspects of the design such as additional parameters.
SAM receiving water symposium was held Sept. 13, 2018 in Tacoma. The agenda and presentation provided findings of the SAM receiving water monitoring studies, a spatial graphic tutorial and info on add-on studies. The symposium was attended by approximately 75 people and was open to the public.
SAM's first symposium was held June 1, 2017, to showcase all active SAM studies to date. The agenda and presentations gave updates or interim findings for each of the active projects. This allowed permittees to learn about the wide range of monitoring studies underway.