A catalyst for ecosystem recovery

The University of Washington Puget Sound Institute provides analysis, research and communication to inform and connect the science of ecosystem protection.

The big picture: Our comprehensive approach

Ecosystem management in Puget Sound has become increasingly complex. Scientists now recognize that what happens on the land is intricately tied to the health of the water. We face climate change and unprecedented population growth, and researchers have identified thousands of different human-caused pressures on the ecosystem. Given limited resources, how can managers and policymakers make informed decisions about where to focus their recovery efforts?

More: About PSI


The Puget Sound Institute provides expertise across three major areas:

1. Science for policy

Technical assistance to resource managers and policymakers
PSI and our partners receive major funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to support and enhance new strategies for improving the health of Puget Sound.

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United States Environmental Protection Agency

Puget Sound Partnership

human wellbeing indicator wheel
The human wellbeing indicator wheel was developed to provide a social science perspective on ecosystem management.

2. Research

Scientific studies
Our expertise is strongly grounded in original research. Since 2010, PSI scientists along with our collaborators at the Center for Urban Waters have published on a range of topics, including the ecology of forage fish, stormwater, microplastics, social science and emerging contaminants.

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3. Communication

Trusted, decision-critical information
We bring together scientific findings from around the region through synthesis, study panels, technical peer-reviews and publications such as the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and Salish Sea Currents.

More: Connecting the science

Browse: Encyclopedia of Puget Sound

A collection of Salish Sea Currents printed flyers.
Salish Sea Currents stories are published online in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and also printed as annual booklets and flyers.


Recent blog posts

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) swimming upstream. Photo: Ingrid Taylar (CC BY-NC 2.0)

‘Early migration gene’ tied to unique population of Chinook

October 9, 2019

By Christopher Dunagan, Puget Sound Institute Recent studies have shown that Chinook salmon that spawn in the spring are genetically distinct from varieties that spawn…

A bulkhead along the shores of Puget Sound. Photo by Christopher Dunagan.

PSI study will look at potential of low-interest loans for armor removal

September 23, 2019

There are more than 45,000 residential properties along Puget Sound’s shoreline. Of those, almost half have some form of environmentally damaging shoreline armoring, researchers say.…

Benthic invertebrates range in size from those easily seen with the naked eye to those that cannot be spotted without the use of a microscope. Photo: Christopher Dunagan

Are some streams in Puget Sound getting cleaner?

September 5, 2019

Scientists are reporting some potentially good news about the health of Puget Sound’s streams. Ten years of data from 126 stream sites within King County…

Image courtesy of depavepugetsound.org.

Project seeks to “depave” Puget Sound

August 30, 2019

This is a guest blog from Partners in Puget Sound Recovery, an inter-agency group focused on strategies for stormwater mitigation, habitat protection and shellfish recovery…

A southern resident killer whale hunts a Chinook salmon. Photograph courtesy of NOAA.

Are the orcas starving? Scientists say it’s not that simple

August 9, 2019

The reported deaths this week of three more southern resident orcas have brought renewed urgency to efforts to save the critically endangered population of whales.…

Herring fishing boats in the Strait of Georgia, BC. Photo: marneejill (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/23BepQz

Ancient harvests: A history of Salish Sea herring

July 23, 2019

If you were to ask a group of experts to make a list of culturally important foods in the Pacific Northwest, it would not be…

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