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A path through the maze of resilience thinking

‘Resilience thinking’ has exploded in recent decades to become a sprawling discipline, complete with debates and inconsistencies, and literature to match. The idea that ecosystems should be made ‘resilient,’ or able to absorb disturbance and still bounce back, has gained traction in many policy circles, but there remains some disagreement about what the term means …

Survey shows Puget Sound residents prefer natural shorelines to armored ones

Report cover

By Jeff Rice, Puget Sound Institute Shoreline armoring not only damages the ecosystem, it may also impact our ‘sense of place’ and enjoyment of the environment, according to a 2019 report from Oregon State University. The report is based on surveys of both property owners and non-property owners in Puget Sound. More than 66% of …

‘Early migration gene’ tied to unique population of Chinook

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

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 during fall months. Experts are confronting the resulting ecological, social and legal implications of that finding. Each year, as the dark days of winter surrendered to the rebirth of spring, …

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

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

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. That makes private landowners a primary focus of state and federal armor removal efforts, but many landowners say they either lack funds or are unwilling to pay for sometimes costly beach restorations. …

Are some streams in Puget Sound getting cleaner?

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

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 have shown a slight improvement in water quality, according to the county’s Water and Land Resource Division. The study examined the variety of insects and other invertebrates that were collected …

Project seeks to “depave” Puget Sound

Image courtesy of depavepugetsound.org.

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 in Puget Sound. Project Spotlight: Replicable Model for Depave and LID Retrofits Overview:  This project will conduct three depave and retrofit activities providing direct stormwater benefit to three communities resulting in …

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

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

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. Many scientists and policymakers are focusing on the orcas’ access to their main source of food, the Chinook salmon. Members of the orca population are appearing dangerously thin and malnourished. …

Unsung seabirds could help track Puget Sound health

Pigeon guillemot taking flight over water. Photo: Patty McGann (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/opywhG

Pigeon guillemots have attracted relatively little scientific attention compared to other seabirds in Puget Sound. That may be because their population is generally stable, but a group of citizen scientists is helping to put guillemots on the conservation radar. They hope the birds can be used as an indicator of Puget Sound health. Eric Wagner reports for Salish …

Kolodziej, Peter Featured in SIFF Documentary on Seattle’s Thornton Creek

A still from Engineering With Nature. Associate Professor Ed Kolodziej, at right, is interviewed by Katherine Lynch of Seattle Public Utilities.

A new documentary featuring PSI collaborators Ed Kolodziej and Kathy Peter was selected to premiere at the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) on Saturday, June 8. The 70-minute documentary, “Engineering with Nature – An Ode to Water, Wood, and Stone” was directed by environmental filmmaker Shelly Solomon and is distributed through Leaping Frog Films. …

Story map details efforts to stop green crabs in Puget Sound

View the European green crab story map at https://arcg.is/4SbC0

Researchers have been on high alert since the 2016 discovery of the invasive European green crab in Puget Sound. So far, monitoring teams have found relatively few crabs, but experts worry that a population could grow rapidly and damage the native ecosystem. Now a collaboration of volunteers, agencies and tribes is working to stop the …