Northwest Association of Environmental Professionals

Lunch & Learn: Puget Sound Watershed Characterization 10/15

  • Thursday, October 15, 2015
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Seattle (Anchor QEA, 720 Olive Way, Suite 1900); Portland (Louis Berger, 700 NE Multnomah St., Suite 900)


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NWAEP Lunch & Learn

Puget Sound Watershed Characterization:
Supporting Land Use Planning and Ecosystem Restoration through Geospatial Assessments of Watershed Processes and Habitats

Presented by Colin Hume, Washington State Department of Ecology

Please join us for this Lunch and Learn presentation featuring Colin Hume, Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), who will be giving a presentation on the Puget Sound Watershed Characterization.  Because this being rescheduled from a previously canceled event, this is FREE for NWAEP Members and Non-Members to attend!

Decision support tools like the Puget Sound Watershed Characterization enable landscape-scale analysis of ecosystem attributes and degradation, provide essential information for long-term sustainability planning, and assist with setting local and regional priorities for protection and restoration investments; improving ecosystem resiliency and enabling smarter discussions among neighboring jurisdictions for long-term land use planning.

This presentation covers how available coarse-scale geospatial environmental information has been used to model and assess ecosystem processes, structures and functions across Puget Sound. The Puget Sound Watershed Characterization Project has been used to help decision-makers determine the most effective approaches to planning for future development, as well as protection and restoration programs within the context of existing ecosystem processes. 

Applying watershed assessments and indices reveals the relative potential of specific landscapes to provide services, in terms of water flow, water quality, and wildlife habitat. This approach allows for a more comprehensive understanding and ranking of sub basins in terms of the ecosystem processes and functions they support. This information can be used to inform update processes for comprehensive plans and development regulations to better account for existing ecosystem processes, whether they are intact or degraded. The presentation will explain the approach and general methodology behind the Puget Sound Watershed Characterization models and indices, provide a live demonstration of a newly developed web map application, discuss the options available to tailor the modeling and analysis to local conditions, and describe several case studies of how this tool has been used in Puget Sound planning processes.

Colin Hume is a Watershed Ecologist for the Washington State Department of Ecology.  Colin earned his B.S. in Biology from Western Washington University, and an M.S. in Conservation Biology and Environmental Planning from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment where he focused on strategies for protection and restoration of watershed processes and function.  Most recently he worked with the U.S. Fish& Wildlife Service in Washington D.C. where he helped to administer national aquatic restoration programs overseen by the Division of Fisheries.

Colin currently serves as manager for the Puget Sound Watershed Characterization Project and Coordinator for the Watershed Characterization Technical Assistance Team (WCTAT). He is a technical lead for the inter-agency team and has the primary responsibility for coordinating with users of the team services.  Colin synthesizes information from the Characterization assessments and participates on technical advisory and review committees for watershed planning projects across Puget Sound including:  Stormwater retrofit plans for the Hood Canal Coordinating Council and the City of Mukilteo, the WRIA 7 Salmon Recovery Plan Protection Strategies report, the Whatcom County Water Quality and Agriculture Ecosystem Services project, and the City of Duvall Watershed Plan.  Colin has also led the development of and conducted full day trainings in use of watershed characterization assessments as part of Ecology’s Coastal Training Center. 

Please note that the actual talk will start promptly at 12:00.  However, we encourage everyone to join us for some friendly discussion and networking starting at 11:30.

Please join NWAEP in Seattle, WA for this Lunch & Learn discussion by registering and reserving a spot!  The event will be available in-person in Seattle at Anchor QEA at 720 Olive Way, Suite 1900 and in Portland via webinar, hosted at Louis Berger, 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 900.  This Lunch & Learn will be FREE for Members and Non-Members.  Please e-mail Josh Jensen ( if you have any questions. 

Interested in becoming a member?  Visit for more details!  

Northwest Association of Environmental Professionals     •     PO Box 11583, Portland, OR 97211         TheNWAEP at gmail dot com 


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