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Task force narrows list of ideas to save killer whales from extinction

Killer whale with calf. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

By Christopher Dunagan The term “no silver bullet” has been heard again and again as dozens of experts from throughout the state examine ideas that might help avoid extinction for Puget Sound’s beloved orcas. The Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, created by the governor, is considering short-term actions — such as increasing hatchery production …

Equity and social science integration at the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

A new study looks at social science and equity integration within the proceedings of the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. The study was produced by David Trimbach on behalf of the Puget Sound Partnership for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and the Puget Sound Institute. From the report’s Introduction: Social science and equity are increasingly …

New studies on emerging threats to salmon

Chinook salmon leaping at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. Photo: Ingrid Taylar (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylar/29739921130

Chemicals, disease and other stressors can increase a salmon’s chance of being eaten or reduce its ability to catch food. We wrap up our series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project with a look at some of the lesser-known, but still significant factors contributing to salmon declines in the Salish Sea. Read the story in …

Removal of creosote-treated pilings may assist herring recovery

Removal of creosote-treated pilings in Puget Sound. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Thousands of abandoned wood pilings — the ghosts of piers and docks past — are located throughout Puget Sound. Most of them are treated with creosote, a toxic chemical used to preserve wood that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of chemicals that are also associated with oil spills and burning of fossil fuels. …

Could anchovies and other fish take pressure off salmon and steelhead?

A harbor seal hunting anchovies. From Howe Sound Ballet video by Bob Turner: https://youtu.be/Ycx1hvrPAqc

A recent influx of anchovies into Puget Sound may have saved some steelhead from predators, but researchers seek more evidence to prove the connection. Our series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project continues with a look at these and other potential impacts from predators on the region’s salmon and steelhead. Read the story in …

Opening the black box: What’s killing Puget Sound’s salmon and steelhead?

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo: Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service

An intensive research program in the U.S. and Canada is studying why so few salmon in the Salish Sea are returning home to spawn. They are uncovering a complex web of problems involving predators, prey and other factors that put salmon at risk as they migrate to the ocean. Puget Sound Institute senior writer Christopher …