Category: Findings

Puget Sound’s growing nutrient problem

First there was “The Blob” that fed last year’s massive algae bloom in the Pacific Ocean. Now there is another monster getting our attention. You might call it “The slime that ate Lake Erie.” The incredible images of Lake Erie’s expanding blanket of green show the familiar effect of nutrient pollution. Nutrients such as phosphorous …

PCBs in fish remain steady while other toxics decline

A new study shows a surprising decline in some toxic chemicals in Puget Sound fish, while levels of PCBs increased in some cases. Scientists say the study shows that banning toxic chemicals can work, but old contaminants remain a challenge as they continue to wash into Puget Sound. Read our story in Salish Sea Currents. 

Are we making progress on salmon recovery?

In recent decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to restore habitat for Puget Sound salmon. This month, PSI senior writer Christopher Dunagan looks at how scientists are gauging their progress. Are environmental conditions improving or getting worse? The answer may depend on where you look and who you ask. Read the article …

Salmon council debates new priorities proposed by tribes

The Puget Sound Partnership’s Salmon Recovery Council last Thursday gave preliminary approval to six of the seven proposed recovery priorities known as “bold actions” to improve Chinook salmon numbers in Puget Sound. One of the actions calling for “a net gain in ecosystem function and habitat productivity” for salmon was tabled for ongoing discussions in …

Update: Killer whale miscarriages linked to low food supply

Our 2016 article “Killer whale miscarriages linked to low food supply” provided an early look at a study published this week in the journal PLOS ONE. PSI senior writer Christopher Dunagan wrote the article based on research that was presented at the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, and it remains a helpful summary of the …

PSI study links happiness to interactions with nature

Can nature make you happy? Science weighs in: A recent study by PSI social scientist Kelly Biedenweg found that Puget Sound residents reported increasing happiness the more they engaged with the natural environment. “We (in the Pacific Northwest) are pretty much the leaders in trying to understand how happiness and integration with the environment relate to each other,” Biedenweg …

Finding a strategy to accelerate Chinook recovery

New in Salish Sea Currents: We continue our series on Puget Sound’s EPA-funded Implementation Strategies. This week we take on Chinook recovery. As threatened Chinook populations continue to lose ground, the state is looking to new strategies to reverse the trend. In the Skagit watershed, the scientists — and the fish — are among those …

Study of seals and sea lions gains interest

Our story last week about the impacts of predators on Chinook salmon populations in Puget Sound continues to gather strong interest from our readers. Several thousand viewed it after it came out last Thursday, and it was reprinted in the Kitsap Sun on Monday. The story was written by PSI senior writer Christopher Dunagan and reports on …