Identifying ecosystem services in Puget Sound

Sunset over Puget Sound near Golden Gardens. photo by Wondelane.

Sunset over Puget Sound near Golden Gardens. photo by Wonderlane.

The ecosystem services concept has become the leading framework for understanding and communicating the human dimensions of environmental change. A new report commissioned by the Puget Sound Institute focuses on several of these ecosystem benefits, including economic, social and cultural services linked to Puget Sound recovery.

Read the full report on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.


An in-depth look at harbor porpoise in the Salish Sea

Harbor porpoise surfacing. Photo: Erin D'Agnese, WDFW

Harbor porpoise surfacing. Photo: Erin D’Agnese, WDFW

In the 1940s, harbor porpoise were among the most frequently sighted cetaceans in Puget Sound, but by the early 1970s they had all but disappeared. Their numbers have since increased, but they remain a Species of Concern in the state of Washington. A new in-depth species profile looks at the status of harbor porpoise in the Salish Sea, and brings together some of the most comprehensive information to-date about their regional ecology and behavior. The profile was prepared by Jacqlynn Zier and Joe Gaydos of the SeaDoc Society for inclusion in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.

Read the full report.


Congressmen announce ‘Save Our Sound’ bill

A new bill proposed by Representatives Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer seeks to bring Puget Sound recovery efforts on par with other waterways such as Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. The congressmen say those ecosystems receive far more funding and greater federal standing, despite Puget Sound’s national importance as an estuary.

The bill, referred to as ‘Puget SOS’ (Promoting United Government Efforts To Save Our Sound), calls for recognition of Puget Sound as “a waterbody of national significance,” and would create a Puget Sound recovery office at the EPA. It would establish an interagency task force to “coordinate recovery efforts amongst Federal agencies and between Federal, State, local, and Tribal partners.”

Read a summary of the bill or download the full draft.


Report chronicles unusual year for marine waters in Puget Sound

Puget Sound marine waters 2014 overview report cover

Puget Sound marine waters 2014 overview report cover

The Puget Sound Marine Waters Overview for 2014 is now available. The report is part of an annual effort from NOAA and the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program to synthesize marine conditions for the region. According to its authors, 2014 “was a year with notable departures from average.” In particular, the report provides details on the large scale mass of warm water that came to be known as “the blob,” and has stretched from Alaska and Puget Sound to as far south as Mexico. The report also looks at status and trends for a number of key species, including rhinoceros auklets, harbor porpoise and Pacific herring.

Read the full report at the Puget Sound Partnership’s website.