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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1279

Tools and Methods for Evaluating and Refining Alternative Futures for Coastal Ecosystem Management—The Puget Sound Ecosystem Portfolio Model

By Kristin B. Byrd, Jason R. Kreitler, and William B. Labiosa

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.3 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey Puget Sound Ecosystem Portfolio Model (PSEPM) is a decision-support tool that uses scenarios to evaluate where, when, and to what extent future population growth, urban growth, and shoreline development may threaten the Puget Sound nearshore environment. This tool was designed to be used iteratively in a workshop setting in which experts, stakeholders, and decisionmakers discuss consequences to the Puget Sound nearshore within an alternative-futures framework. The PSEPM presents three possible futures of the nearshore by analyzing three growth scenarios developed out to 2060: Status Quo—continuation of current trends; Managed Growth—adoption of an aggressive set of land-use management policies; and Unconstrained Growth—relaxation of land-use restrictions. The PSEPM focuses on nearshore environments associated with barrier and bluff-backed beaches—the most dominant shoreforms in Puget Sound—which represent 50 percent of Puget Sound shorelines by length. This report provides detailed methodologies for development of three submodels within the PSEPM—the Shellfish Pollution Model, the Beach Armoring Index, and the Recreation Visits Model. Results from the PSEPM identify where and when future changes to nearshore ecosystems and ecosystem services will likely occur within the three growth scenarios. Model outputs include maps that highlight shoreline sections where nearshore resources may be at greater risk from upland land-use changes. The background discussed in this report serves to document and supplement model results displayed on the PSEPM Web site located at

Also of Interest

USGS Fact Sheet 2011–3067, Land-Use Planning for Nearshore Ecosystem Services—The Puget Sound Ecosystem Portfolio Model, by Kristin B. Byrd (2011).

  • This report is available only on the Web.

For additional information:
Contact Information, Western Geographic Science Center
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345 Middlefield Road, MS 531
Menlo Park, California 94025

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Suggested citation:

Byrd, K.B, Kreitler, J.R, and Labiosa, W.B, 2011, Tools and methods for evaluating and refining alternative futures for coastal ecosystem management—the Puget Sound Ecosystem Portfolio Model: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1279, 47 p., available at





Overview of the Puget Sound Ecosystem Portfolio Model

PSEPM Submodels for Evaluating Alternative Futures


References Cited

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