Home » Blog posts

Social scientists analyze public reactions to orca crisis

Orca report cover

Social scientists at Oregon State University have been analyzing a trove of more than 17,000 public comments sent to the Washington state governor’s southern resident orca recovery task force. The researchers have added the comments to a keyword database to look at public emotions and perceptions around the issue of orca declines. The orca task …

Sewer operators worry that toilet paper shortage will lead to more nasty clogs

With a multitude of people scrambling to buy toilet paper, and some going without, sewer utility officials across the country are worried about the possible repercussions of the TP shortage — such as clogged sewer lines. Toilet paper and wipes of all kinds have become the subject of a complex, wide-ranging and controversial debate. The …

Second Pacific salmon expedition gets a chance to see the effects of cooler water

A second research cruise to study the winter travels of salmon in the Pacific Ocean got underway today, when 12 scientists from three countries left Victoria, B.C., aboard the trawler Pacific Legacy. Researchers say they have learned a great deal from the first salmon cruise a year ago, when 21 scientists from five countries ventured …

Virus related to measles could push Puget Sound orcas to extinction, study says

Researchers studying the killer whales that frequent Puget Sound are growing increasingly concerned that a dangerous virus or other disease-causing organism could spread through the population and hasten extinction of these critically endangered southern resident orcas. Without dramatic changes to their environment, extinction is already considered the likely future for the southern residents, as they …

Harvest managers setting this year’s salmon seasons struggle to find ways to help orcas

As state, tribal and federal salmon managers work together to establish this year’s fishing seasons, they have not forgotten about the needs of Puget Sound’s endangered killer whales. In fact, new documents related to the southern resident orcas describe an investigation looking to find ways to reduce fisheries at certain times and locations that might …

Shoreline armoring in Puget Sound gets new scrutiny from the Army Corps of Engineers

Shoreline bulkheads, which can damage beaches and destroy fish habitat, could come under more extensive review and permitting as the result of a revised shoreline policy announced last week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The revised policy (PDF 163 kb), which resulted from a federal lawsuit, now requires a Corps of Engineers permit …

New fishing rules increase limits on warm-water fish to indirectly help orcas

In an effort to protect young salmon from predation, new fishing rules will allow anglers to double their catch of some warm-water predatory fish found in 77 lakes across Washington state. Reducing the population of salmon-eating bass, catfish and walleye is one of many ideas promoted by the governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force, which …

New report describes anticipated climate-change effects in Washington state

Early effects of a warming Earth have reached Washington state, as we can see from actual measurements. Annual snowpack is declining in the mountains; ancient glaciers are shrinking; sea levels are rising; and coastal waters are becoming less hospitable to sea life. These are some of the changes outlined in a new easy-to-read briefing report …

Missing orca named ‘Mega’ lived a long, productive life, says Ken Balcomb

A 43-year-old male orca named Mega, now missing and presumed dead, was one of the first new calves that researcher Ken Balcomb spotted when he began his extensive census of Southern Resident killer whales back in 1976. Ken didn’t know it at the time, but the baby orca — one of nine born in 1977 …

Shoreline monitoring toolbox webinar

Re-posted from the Habitat Strategic Initiative blog: Please join the Habitat Strategic Initiative for a webinar on Thursday, February 13th at 12pm Join the [pugetsoundestuary.wa.gov]Habitat Strategic Initiative for a webinar highlighting the results of one of our investments that is advancing progress on the Shoreline Armoring Implementation Strategy, Shoreline Monitoring Toolbox Protocol Implementation and Data …

PSI is hiring a GIS Specialist

The Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington is seeking a GIS Specialist to work on geospatially explicit tasks relating to the regional strategy to restore and recover valued components of the Puget Sound ecosystem. These include data acquisition, development, maintenance, mapping, and basic geospatial analysis. The position is funded by the EPA’s National …