Climate change will reshape Puget Sound’s biodiversity, report says

As world leaders meet this week in Paris to discuss global climate change, a new report from the University of Washington looks at expected climate impacts in the Puget Sound region. Christopher Dunagan wraps up his three-part series on the report’s findings with a focus on the region’s species and habitats.

Coast Range Subalpine Fir groves in meadow near Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, Olympic National Park, WA. Photo: Wsiegmund (CC-BY-SA-3.0) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HurricaneRidge_7392t.jpg

Coast Range Subalpine Fir groves in meadow near Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, Olympic National Park, WA. Photo: Wsiegmund (CC-BY-SA-3.0) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HurricaneRidge_7392t.jpg

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Coping with climate change: local farmers face uncertain future

Puget Sound’s shifting climate may mean big changes for the region’s farmers, according to a new report commissioned by the Puget Sound Institute. New patterns of droughts and floods, along with changes in the growing season will influence the way crops are grown — and even the types of crops that thrive in the region. Christopher Dunagan brings us part two of our series on the report’s findings.

Aerial view of flooding of the Snoqualmie River Valley in December 2010. Photo: King County

Aerial view of flooding of the Snoqualmie River Valley in December 2010. Photo: King County

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Shifting ground: climate change may increase the risk of landslides

Landslides, which all too often kill people, destroy homes and disrupt transportation networks, could increase in the coming years as a result of climate change. A new report commissioned by the Puget Sound Institute looks at what we might expect in the region, especially during the winter months when rains and flooding reach their peak. PSI senior writer Christopher Dunagan brings us part one of a three-part series on some of the report’s findings.

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Could shoreline armoring finally be declining in Puget Sound?

For more than 100 years, urban development has been a near constant along Puget Sound’s shoreline, but one controversial type of beach structure may now be on the decline. State agencies say that is good news for Puget Sound’s shoreline habitat.

By Christopher Dunagan

For the first time in Puget Sound history, the removal of shoreline armoring — such as rock and concrete bulkheads — has surpassed new construction of such erosion-control structures.

New, replaced, and removed Puget Sound armoring (2005-2009)

New, replaced, and removed Puget Sound armoring (2005-2009). Source: WDFW

This major milestone could be a turning point following decades of degradation, officials say. Natural shorelines have been altered in nearly every corner of Puget Sound — often at a rate of more than a mile a year.

Sheida Sahandy, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, celebrated the fact that more bulkheads were removed than built in 2014, but she added a note of caution.

“This is a good thing,” Sahandy said. “It shows that we have turned a corner and are going in the right direction. But this is just one point in time, and there is a lot of work to be done.”

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