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. 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? 
blue and white SAM stormwater action monitoring logo

What to expect from SAM

SAM launched in 2014 (under the name Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program). In the first three years the team began four status studies, 10 effectiveness studies, one source identification project, and a community education effort.

Most projects are in a data analysis stage, a couple projects were recently completed. We — as the administrator of SAM — provide quarterly and annual reports. Findings from SAM will help stormwater managers at all levels of government, field practitioners, and policy makers improve management practices and set funding priorities.

SAM communications

We want to communicate SAM results broadly and effectively with stormwater managers and municipal stormwater decision makers for adaptive management of stormwater programs and activities. The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) is helping us with SAM communications such as newsletters, fact sheets, workshops, and outreach strategy. AWC grant on SAM communications scope of work and amendment 1.

Upcoming communication products for SAM

  • More fact sheets for SAM completed studies.
  • A SAM Booklet containing: study fact sheets, articles, communication tools for local councils, and a presentation.
  • Bioretention studies compilation: a video on how SAM works and a receiving water studies video.

Upcoming Workshops

Register for the SAM 2019 Priorities Workshop on February 27, 2019. Renton Community Center.
The Stormwater Work Group will host a free SAM Priorities Workshop. Register for either the morning or afternoon, or for both workshops. Lunch can be ordered via the registration form to be provided on site for $12-$15, cash only.

  • 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.  We will ask stakeholders to narrow this list of effectiveness studies and source identification project ideas that are the results of the survey permittees answered last fall.
  • 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  We will describe updates to the status and trends monitoring design and solicit feedback on stakeholder priorities for the flexible aspects of the design such as additional parameters.
Come prepared by reviewing these morning and afternoon workshop materials in advance.

Past Workshops

SAM receiving water symposium was held in Tacoma on Sept. 13, 2018. 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.

SAM publications

Keep in touch

Join our email SAM listserv to receive:

  • Quarterly 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.

Interested in the Stormwater Work Group?

Find up to date information at the SWG webpages