Soundwide eelgrass area is a metric for the overall health of native seagrass beds in greater Puget Sound. Seagrass is an important component of nearshore habitats and is sensitive to human disturbance and declines in water quality.

Annual estimates of soundwide eelgrass area (acres) in greater Puget Sound. The dashed line shows a baseline calculated from data between 2000 and 2008. Error bars are standard error.

Key Vital Sign Indicator Results

  • The current best estimate of eelgrass area in greater Puget Sound is approximately 55,000 acres (pooled 3-year average 2018-2020).
  • Soundwide eelgrass area showed an increasing trend between 2004 and 2016, and a declining trend between 2016 and 2020. The magnitude of these changes was relatively small as compared to the total amount of eelgrass present in greater Puget Sound. The relative stability is reassuring and sets Puget Sound apart from many other developed areas, where substantial system-wide declines are ongoing.
  • While most sites appear stable, the spatial pattern in site level trends suggests that eelgrass is susceptible to declines in certain areas of greater Puget Sound. For more information on regional patterns, see the short and long-term change at eelgrass sites indicator.

Contributing Partners


No targets are currently set for this indicator.

Indicator Details
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