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In 2008, Region 10 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded King County a West Coast Estuaries Initiative (WEI) grant to conduct the Quartermaster Harbor Nitrogen Management Study, which was funded through the end of 2013. The overall purpose of this study was to determine how nitrogen from a variety of sources, including humans, affects dissolved oxygen levels in Quartermaster Harbor.

The expected long term outcomes were improved water quality management policies in the King County Comprehensive Plan and the protection and enhancement of water quality in Quartermaster Harbor. In addition, the effect of human inputs of nitrogen on dissolved oxygen levels in Puget Sound, including Hood Canal and shallow bays like Quartermaster Harbor, have been the subject of research and policy development for almost four decades. This study contributes to that body of knowledge.

Quartermaster Harbor Nitrogen Management Study: Final Study Report (6,781 Kb File)
This final study report summarizes freshwater (groundwater and surface water) inputs to Quartermaster Harbor, marine water quality and sources of nitrogen. It also provides recommendations for future studies to address management challenges.

Partners working with King County on this grant-funded study included the University of Washington-Tacoma (UWT) and the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology). This project supported the enhancement of aquatic resource protection in an area threatened by population growth pressures. This final report summarizes the work conducted as part of the Quartermaster Harbor Nitrogen Management Study and provides an overview of study findings. Detailed findings on specific topics are contained in other project reports.

Project partners:

Partner logo - US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 10)  Partner logo - University of Washington Tacoma  Partner logo -Washington Department of Ecology (Marine Monitoring Group)

Project Data, Documents and Maps

Surface, ground and marine water data were collected as part of this project. The project has numerous publications during the study timeline. The data, documents and maps can be found in the documents section. EPA approved the Quality Assurance Project Plan in June 2009.

Public Involvement

This project worked closely with the Vashon-Maury Island Groundwater Protection Committee to broaden the understanding of the impacts to Quartermaster Harbor. Groundwater Protection Committee meetings are open to the public and held quarterly on the 4th Wednesday of the month (Jan/Apr/Jul/Oct).

Links to other projects influencing Quartermaster Harbor

Washington State Department of Ecology is using a Puget Sound/Salish Sea model to evaluate the effects of current and potential future nutrient loads on dissolved oxygen levels in Salish Sea.

Washington State Department of Ecology South Puget Sound Dissolved Oxygen Study water quality study on low dissolved oxygen levels in South Puget Sound.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources Maury Island Aquatic Reserve management plan for Quartermaster Harbor.

Public Health - Seattle & King County Vashon-Maury Island Marine Recovery Area to correct failing on-site sewage systems on the west side of outer Quartermaster Harbor.

Washington State Department of Health Shellfish Program to monitor, classify water quality and manage shellfish harvest in Quartermaster Harbor.

Puget Sound Restoration Fund Quartermaster Harbor Nutrient Mitigation Project to test effects of growing mussels on water quality in Quartermaster Harbor.

This page is produced by the King County Groundwater Protection Program. To learn more about this group and its responsibilities, please read about the Groundwater Protection Program.