A network of computer models is predicting the future of Puget Sound

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A new $4.8 million dollar project led by the Puget Sound Institute links together a series of computer models to explore future scenarios across the watershed. Some of Puget Sound’s biggest concerns hold the greatest uncertainties.  Will we have clean water? Can the ecosystem sustain species like endangered salmon? How can the region continue to grow and still maintain healthy habitats for wildlife and people? What, in other words, is the future of Puget Sound? No one can travel through time to answer these questions firsthand (science has its limits), […]

Event celebrates the anniversary of the Clean Water Act and new funding for Puget Sound

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It could have been mistaken for a foggy morning along the waterfront, but the occasional coughs and burning eyes among the crowd of 60 or so people gathered here last Wednesday told a different story. Like much of the Northwest, Tacoma was shrouded in a haze of smoke from a spate of forest fires giving it and its neighbor Seattle the dubious distinction of having some of the worst air quality in the world, topping places like Delhi and Beijing. A group of policymakers, tribal leaders and elected officials were […]

New NSF grant supports toxics research

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Researchers at our affiliate organization the Center for Urban Waters have received a $797,107 National Science Foundation grant for the purchase of new equipment to identify toxic contaminants in Puget Sound. Ed Kolodziej is the project’s principal investigator. Co-principal investigators include David Beck, Allison Gardell, Jessica Ray, and Andy James. The funds were awarded on July 8th and will cover the cost of a new Liquid Chromatograph-High Resolution Mass Spectrometer, an ultra-sensitive device that identifies molecules by their atomic weight. The spectrometer can measure the presence of chemical compounds at […]

Rep. Derek Kilmer expresses optimism about future funding for Puget Sound recovery

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Federal support for Puget Sound recovery is on the rise, and there is growing hope that the Sound’s ecological problems will receive increased consideration and funding, according to U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. “With a (Democratic) majority in the House and the new Senate majority, and the White House, I think that we are going to see some progress,” Kilmer said, speaking Friday at the annual “Puget Sound Days on the Hill.” In support of his optimism, Kilmer pointed out that his PUGET SOS bill, which would create a […]

Two science and monitoring funding opportunities from the Puget Sound Partnership

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From the Puget Sound Partnership: Announcing Two Science and Monitoring Funding Opportunities from the Puget Sound Partnership  The Partnership is pleased to announce two solicitations for collaborative proposals to inform and accelerate Puget Sound recovery: Puget Sound Scientific Research and Monitoring to Accelerate Recovery. Projects are expected to begin early fall and continue through June 30, 2023 (or September 30, 2023 for a subset of ‘Monitoring’ projects). The two solicitations are complementary in nature. In addition to advancing Puget Sound recovery, both recognize the importance of and seek to advance management-relevant science; biophysical and social sciences […]

Low-interest loans could help shoreline property owners finance improvements

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As ongoing research confirms the importance of shoreline habitat throughout Puget Sound, experts are looking for new ways to help shoreline property owners pay for bulkhead removals. One emerging idea, which could be established as a formal initiative within a year, consists of a special shoreline loan program that could provide low-interest loans to residential property owners. The owners could then make payments over decades with less strain on their family budgets. A soon-to-be-released report examines the possibilities of a state-sponsored revolving-fund loan program. This type of program would begin […]

‘Voices Unbound’ seminar looks at disenfranchised communities

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Like so many things, a person’s understanding of environmental issues can depend on different factors, from economic status, to race and ethnicity, to politics and culture. An upcoming seminar hosted by the Puget Sound Institute on March 22nd at 10:00 AM will look at these perspectives and will talk about some of the ways that disenfranchised voices can be increasingly heard in environmental policy discussions. The seminar features UW Tacoma Nursing professor Dr. Robin Evans-Agnew, who will describe the ‘Voices Unbound’ project. The project surveyed more than a thousand people […]

Puget Sound Partnership proposing ‘Desired Outcomes’ for ongoing ecosystem recovery

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Puget Sound Action Agenda, often referred to as Puget Sound Partnership’s blueprint for ecological recovery, continues to evolve. The next Action Agenda — scheduled to go into effect a year from now — will incorporate an expanded long-range vision for Puget Sound, complete with broad-based strategies, not just near-term actions. “Desired Outcomes,” the first major component of the next Action Agenda, will be unveiled tomorrow (Thursday) before the Ecosystem Coordination Board, the wide-ranging, 27-member committee that advises the Leadership Council in its recovery oversight and strategic planning. A live video […]

Minor bridge modifications could help young steelhead escape from Hood Canal

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Help could be on the way for migrating steelhead and salmon in Hood Canal, where many young fish are killed each year by seals and other predators that lie in wait at the Hood Canal floating bridge. As many as 50 percent of the steelhead migrants perish as they arrive at the bridge, where predators pick them off one by one. The bridge is supported by floating concrete pontoons, forming a nearly solid barrier across the waterway. Young steelhead generally swim near the surface, making them especially vulnerable to predation, […]

PSI researcher receives EPA funding to study contaminants of emerging concern in the Columbia Basin

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Reprinted by permission of the Environmental Protection Agency: Puget Sound Institute senior scientist Andy James and his colleagues at the Center for Urban Waters are the recipients of a $76,601 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate and prioritize contaminants of emerging concern in the Lower Columbia River (OR, WA)
. James and his team will use the funding to monitor previously unmonitored contaminants, such as endocrine disruptors, in the Columbia River to determine whether they harm important species. Monitoring will take place from the Portland metro area to Wauna, […]

‘Outdoors Act’ would repair national parks, protect land and address recreation needs

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UPDATE: July 23 The Great American Outdoors Act passed the House yesterday on a 310-107 vote. See Associated Press and news release from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. —– It appears that the political stars are lining up for what some people are calling the most significant environmental legislation in decades. Billions of dollars have been laid upon the table for parks, recreation facilities and environmentally sensitive lands across the country. The U.S. Senate has already passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which pairs two previous spending proposals: the […]

PSI launches Salish Sea Modeling Center

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The Puget Sound Institute is launching a new program that will use supercomputers to advance ecosystem recovery of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea Modeling Center will allow scientists from around the region to access sophisticated computer models to predict changes in the ecosystem. Work at the center will tackle vexing environmental problems such as the changing chemistry of the Salish Sea and other mysteries puzzling scientists. The center is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and other regional water quality partners. If you want to understand where fish or […]