Stormwater Action Monitoring

The Stormwater Action Monitoring (SAM) collective 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.
SAM's projects aim 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 collective, 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 produce information that will improve stormwater management by reducing pollution, improving water quality, and reducing 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 is the process for new projects?

Every few years, the SWG and SAM organize a solicitation process to approve new projects for SAM. The most recent workshop was held Aug. 29, 2023. Proposed studies were presented to an audience of stormwater managers, permittees, and interested stakeholders. See the Round 4 final slides, summary of proposals, and workshop Q&A. SWG considered the subsequent permittee voting and sent SWG's Round 4 funding decisions to Ecology in November 2023.

We anticipate starting the process for new projects again in 2025.

Keep in touch

Join our SAM email list 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.