Magazine series looks at salmon returns in the Elwha River

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It has been more than ten years since the first of the Elwha River’s two dams was breached, and scientists are gaining new perspectives on the resilience of that ecosystem and its species. The dramatic sight of a river suddenly running free, and the swift return of its salmon has captured the public’s imagination. But a key factor driving the return of the Elwha’s fish populations is less visible. It exists in the microscopic realm, in the genes of the species. We are pleased to kick off a new series this week […]

BPA toxicity debate approaches regulatory decisions at both state and federal levels

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As Washington state authorities get ready to ban the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from drink cans and customer sales receipts, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has agreed to take a fresh look at the potential dangers of BPA. Washington Department of Ecology has issued its “Regulatory Determinations to the Legislature,” which specifies that safer chemicals are available and could be banned from a dozen applications where toxic chemicals are widely used — from flame retardants in electronic equipment to stain-resistant compounds in carpets. Coming next are actual regulations to […]

Governor Inslee appoints Dennis McLerran as chair of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council

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This is a reprint of a press release from the Puget Sound Partnership. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJune 10, 2022 MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Hyde, 360.819.3045, kevin.hyde@psp.wa.gov OLYMPIA — Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Dennis McLerran as chair of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council, the governing body of the Puget Sound Partnership. McLerran has served as the vice chair of the Leadership Council since December 2021. Jay Manning, chair of the Leadership Council since December 2016, has stepped down from the Leadership Council. “Dennis’s decades of environmental leadership will help bring together the […]

New paper describes PSI’s support of ecosystem-based management

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Right now, researchers across Puget Sound are carefully measuring the salinity and temperature of the water, searching for harmful algal blooms and studying the feeding patterns of endangered orcas. They are testing the effects of ocean acidification, counting rockfish and checking the health of our declining kelp forests. Their scope includes salmon genetics and invasive crabs, the flow of rivers and streams. They study thousands of different species and thousands of miles of winding shoreline across a region the size of a small state. Within this region are two pristine national […]

New Puget Sound Action Agenda will include revised ‘targets’ to express recovery goals

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UPDATE, TUESDAY, MAY 17 / WEDNESDAY, MAY 18 Environmental review has been completed for the draft 2022-2026 Puget Sound Action Agenda, and the Puget Sound Partnership announced a public comment period for the SEPA checklist (PDF 818 kb) and determination of nonsignificance (PDF 134 kb), as required by the State Environmental Policy Act. Comments will be taken until May 30, as described in the DNS. Also, the revised Vital Signs and their indicators are described by the Puget Sound Partnership in a May 18 news release. —– As the Puget […]

PSI monthly roundup

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PSI monthly roundup for March 2022 Nick Georgiadis joins SeaDoc Society’s scientific advisory board Puget Sound Institute senior research scientist Nick Georgiadis has been selected as a member of the SeaDoc Society Scientific Advisory Board. Nick specializes in ecosystem-scale research on subjects ranging from elephant conservation to ecological pressures in the Salish Sea. 
Read more.   Around the Sound April 15 | Comments are due on the draft 2022-2026 Action Agenda for Puget Sound. Don’t miss your chance to influence the course of Puget Sound recovery. April 26-28 | The virtual 2022 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference will be held online from […]

Recent papers from our group: 6PPD-Q updates and the ongoing hunt for contaminants

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New papers this month 6PPD-Quinone: Revised Toxicity Assessment and Quantification with a Commercial Standard A 2022 article in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters revises previous findings on the environmental concentration and toxicity of 6PPD-Quinone, a novel compound lethal to coho salmon. The paper reports that 6PPD-Quinone, a chemical resulting from tire wear particles, “was more toxic than previously calculated and should be categorized as a ‘very highly toxic’ pollutant for aquatic organisms.” Authors include our colleagues at the Center for Urban Waters and the Puget Sound Institute as well as […]

Is it found in Puget Sound?

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The Puget Sound and Salish Sea watersheds contain many incredible geographic features, but it’s not always easy to tell which ones are truly part of the region. Does Puget Sound really include three active volcanoes? (Yes! See above.) How far north does the Salish Sea extend? And does that reach as far as Canada’s wonderfully named Octopus Islands? (We would hope so.) To help answer questions like these, we have created a simple overlay in Google Maps that includes the geo-referenced boundaries of our ecosystem. We hope you will bookmark it […]

Seattle Aquarium honors work conducted at the Center for Urban Waters

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Congratulations to our recent affiliate Dr. Zhenyu Tian for receiving the Seattle Aquarium’s Conservation Research Award! Tian, who is now an assistant professor at Northeastern University, has been recognized by the Aquarium for his work in 2020 to identify a chemical from automobile tires that has been killing Coho salmon in Puget Sound. Tian and a team of scientists at our parent organization the Center for Urban Waters discovered the deadly compound 6PPD-Quinone which has been leaching into stormwater. Research leading up to the discovery was done in collaboration with many […]

Governor’s renewed salmon strategy faces decisive period in the current Legislature

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State legislation designed to enhance salmon habitat by requiring protective buffers along streams has been set aside pending further discussions over the coming year. Meanwhile, several other salmon-protection measures proposed by the governor could move forward with decisive funding from the Legislature. The buffer bill (HB 1838), named the Lorraine Loomis Act, would prohibit degradation of streamside habitat while encouraging restoration within prescribed “riparian management zones” on both public and private lands. Such requirements would apply to farmland, areas destined for development and even properties undergoing redevelopment. The bill is […]

Call for student science writers to report on SSEC 2022

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The University of Washington Puget Sound Institute is sponsoring up to 10 student writers to report short (300-word) stories about science findings presented at the upcoming Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. The conference will be held online April 26-28. We are offering $200 per story and can cover conference registration costs. Successful writers will publish their work in our magazine Salish Sea Currents. Writers will also be encouraged to promote their work through social media. The project will include a two-hour pre-conference orientation meeting in early April. Preference will be given to […]

Job opening: Research Scientist/Engineer Assistant

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The University of Washington Puget Sound Institute is seeking a Research Scientist experienced in applying state of the art numerical models, or analysis and reporting of results for large model and measured physical data sets. This position will expand current capabilities within the Puget Sound Institute and the Salish Sea Modeling Center at the Center for Urban Waters, supporting applied water quality modeling for regional utilities, research centers, environmental NGOs, and state, federal, and tribal governments. We are particularly interested in candidates who have experience in data analysis using Python or MATLAB, or related coding […]