Will Ballard Locks withstand a major earthquake?

Ballard Locks from the air. Photo: Jeff Wilcox (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffwilcox/4805933588

Ballard Locks from the air. Photo: Jeff Wilcox (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffwilcox/4805933588

Concerns are growing that an earthquake or major ship accident could cause a failure that would halt ship traffic — or, worse, drop water levels in Lake Washington and Lake Union by up to 20 feet. That could mean stranded boats, disabled bridges and big problems for salmon restoration.

Read the story in Salish Sea Currents on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. 

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New papers look at ‘zombie’ steroids

They are sometimes called ‘zombie’ chemicals. Some compounds thought to be safe and inactive can change into dangerously active forms when they are exposed to the environment. Two recent papers co-authored by PSI collaborator Ed Kolodziej look at some of the ways that regulators may need to account for these transformations.

Cole, EA, McBride, SA, Kimbrough, KC, Lee, J, Marchand, EA, Cwiertny, DM, Kolodziej, EP. (2015). Rates and product identification for trenbolone acetate metabolite biotransformation under aerobic conditions. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Volume: 34, Issue: 7, pgs. 1472-1484; DOI: 10.1002/etc.2962.

Read the full paper.

Ward, AS, Cwiertny, DM, Kolodziej, EP, Brehm, CC. (2015). Coupled reversion and stream-hyporheic exchange processes increase environmental persistence of trenbolone metabolites. Nature Communications. Volume: 6, Article Number 7067; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8067.

Read the full paper. 

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Assessing microplastics in the world’s oceans

Microplastics in the Ocean: A Global Assessment

Microplastics in the Ocean: A Global Assessment

Our Director Joel Baker recently co-authored Microplastics in the Ocean: A Global Assessment, an international report commissioned by GESAMP (The Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). GESAMP is an inter-Agency Body of the United Nations, comprised of a group of independent scientists providing advice to UN Agencies on a wide variety of ocean matters. The report examined the global distribution of micro plastic particles, their known and hypothesized effects on marine organisms, and evaluated potential solutions.

Download the report. 

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Nature inspires new approach to flood control

Aerial photo of Hansen Creek restoration site in Skagit County, WA. October 15, 2010. Photo: Kari Neumeyer/NWIFC

Aerial photo of Hansen Creek restoration site in Skagit County, WA. October 15, 2010. Photo: Kari Neumeyer/NWIFC

Every year, winter rains bring the threat of millions of dollars in property damage, or even the loss of life, from floods. Rivers have historically been channeled and tamed to protect towns and farms in low-lying floodplains, but research shows that this approach may actually be making flooding worse while at the same time threatening Puget Sound’s salmon. At Hansen Creek in the Skagit Valley, scientists say nature is the best engineer. Read Eric Wagner’s story in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound’s Salish Sea Currents series. 

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Brighter future for salmon at downtown seawall

Juvenile salmon at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo: kamikaze.spoon https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamikazespoon/264239056

Juvenile salmon at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo: kamikaze.spoon https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamikazespoon/264239056

The decaying seawall along Seattle’s waterfront is providing scientists with an opportunity to improve long-lost habitat for migrating salmon. It could also show the way for habitat enhancements to crumbling infrastructure worldwide. One University of Washington researcher describes the project.

Read more about the Seattle seawall in Salish Sea Currents.

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Shedding new light on eelgrass recovery

Inside the Eelgrass beds. Photo: Eric Heupel (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/eclectic-echoes/7654885752 - See more at: http://www.eopugetsound.org/articles/shedding-new-light-eelgrass-recovery#sthash.BMcQrBpd.dpuf

Inside the Eelgrass beds. Photo: Eric Heupel (CC BY-NC 2.0)

One of the goals set by the state’s Puget Sound Action Agenda is to add 20 percent more eelgrass to the region by 2020. But three years into the effort, there’s been little or no progress, and growing perplexity. Studies show that some eelgrass beds are increasing while others are in decline. Scientists met at the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference to share new research and possible new directions for recovery efforts.

Read the article by Katie Harrington in the new Salish Sea Currents series. 

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Legislature hears testimony on Puget Sound forage fish

Tessa Francis testifies before the state legislature on the importance of Puget Sound forage fish.

Tessa Francis (center facing away from camera) testifies before the state legislature on the importance of Puget Sound forage fish.

Puget Sound Institute research scientist Tessa Francis testified before the Washington House Environment Committee today about the ecological importance of the region’s forage fish.

She discussed findings from PSI’s recent Study Panel on Ecosystem-based Management of Forage Fish in Puget Sound.

Watch the testimony online.

 

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Green roof staves off the cold at PSI

Graph shows temperature comparisons

Graph shows temperature comparisons

The current cold snap is no match for the green roof at PSI headquarters. Our own Kurt Marx has been monitoring roof conditions here at the Center for Urban Waters and gave us this graphic showing temperatures about 5 degrees Celsius warmer under the surface.

Read more about the LEED Platinum Center for Urban Waters. 

Related item: Tacoma’s Center for Urban Waters wins national award for green
roof.

 

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New paper applies invasion biology to social networks

Social media now proliferates across almost every sector of the Web, from commercial enterprises like Facebook to crowd sourcing of science and medical data. New online communities are sprouting like weeds, but not all of these efforts succeed, and the Web is littered with failed attempts and false starts. How can you tell if your network will be the next big thing? PSI Visiting Scientist Marc Mangel says the answer may lie with population biology. Continue reading

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Burke exhibit traces Elwha restoration

Book cover for "Elwha: A River Reborn" by Lynda Mapes. The Burke Museum exhibit runs from November 23, 2013 to March 9, 2014.

Book cover for “Elwha: A River Reborn” by Lynda Mapes. The exhibit based on the book runs from November 23, 2013 to March 9, 2014.

This month, the University of Washington’s Burke Museum opens the exhibit Elwha: A River Reborn, based on the book by Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes, with photography by Steve Ringman. The exhibit tells the story of the largest dam removal in U.S. history, and PSI’s Jeff Rice spoke with Mapes about her experience covering the story, her recent book, and the upcoming exhibit. Read the interview at the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. 

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An idea whose time has come (25 years later)

We recently came across this editorial from Seattle Times writer John Hamer. The text still seems fresh, like it could have been written just a few years ago. The issues that prompted it remain pressing, but the date — January of 1985 — shows that it can take a while for words to resonate.

Photograph of a 1985 Seattle Times editorial calling for the creation of a Puget Sound Institute "to serve as a focal point for research."

Photograph of a 1985 Seattle Times editorial calling for the creation of a Puget Sound Institute “to serve as a focal point for research.”

“Nearly every issue involving the Sound — secondary sewage treatment, storm-sewer overflow, urban runoff, dredge dumping, toxic chemicals, dead whales, fish tumors, closed shellfish beds, red tide — is plagued by uncertainty and disagreement. That makes swift, sweeping action difficult and probably unwise.

But one idea surfaced recently that almost everyone concerned about the Sound may be able to agree on: creation of a Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington to serve as a focal point for research.”

We couldn’t agree more. It only took 25 years, but looks like there really was something to that Puget Sound Institute idea.

We would like to thank long-time Puget Sound scientist Don Malins for sharing this news clipping with us.

 

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