Stormwater Action Monitoring

The Stormwater Action Monitoring (SAM) brings together municipal stormwater permitees to collaborate on monitoring needs under the Western Washington municipal stormwater permits. SAM provides structure, transparency, and accountability for permittees and stakeholders.
 
The group aims to improve stormwater management, reduce pollution, improve water quality, and reduce flooding. They do this by working together to measure stormwater impacts on the environment and evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to manage stormwater.

What is SAM?

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 under the general municipal stormwater permits. This approach is unique since no other permit-driven monitoring in the state is defined and funded by permittees. Additional funds and in-kind are contributed by other Washington state agencies, federal agencies, local businesses, and community volunteers. 

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 serves to administer the SAM program, by managing funds and executing SAM contracts.

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 studies and projects target 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 and how can we improve treatment?

Status and trends studies  —  Are small streams and marine nearshore water quality is getting better or worse?

Source identification projects — What are the common sources of illicit discharges? What are some regional solutions for source control and elimination? 

What to expect from SAM

SAM launched in 2014 and by the end of the permit term in June 2019 SAM funded 25 studies, which required over 40 individual agreements not including amendments. This includes four Puget Sound basin receiving water studies, 16 effectiveness studies, 3 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 funds were obligated.  The active SAM projects continue into the next permit term.

Upcoming workshops

SAVE THE DATE - SAM Round 3 Project Selection Workshop is Sept. 16, 2020 at the Renton Community Center.

Past workshops

SAM priorities workshop was held February 27, 2019, by the SWG at the Renton Community Center.
Agendas and workshop materials were provided in advance for stakeholders to be prepared.

Workshop attendees narrowed the list of effectiveness studies and source identification project ideas based on an AWC survey of permittees from fall 2018. In the afternoon, proposed updates to the status and trends monitoring design were described 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.

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.

Keep in touch

Join our email SAM listserv to receive:

  • Newsletters with the latest news on SAM projects and activities.
  • Fact sheets to help you make informed policy decisions.
  • Hear about upcoming symposiums or workshops.