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February 12, 2024


The words ‘in common with’ were pivotal to Judge Boldt’s ruling on Native American fishing rights

Three common words and their legal interpretation a half-century ago helped set the stage for a cultural revival among Native Americans while propelling an environmental movement that still resonates today in Washington state. It was 50 years ago today that U.S. District Judge George Boldt handed down his landmark ruling, which resolved the meaning of […]

September 30, 2023


What may be the nation’s largest estuary seems hidden in plain sight for many people

What is the largest estuary in the United States? This is a question loaded with confusion and open to interpretation, as you will soon see. Before we get to the likely answer — which may surprise you — let me share a few authoritative views on the subject: Chesapeake Bay Foundation: “Chesapeake Bay is the […]

May 25, 2023


Before supercomputers, a structural model helped scientists predict currents in Puget Sound

As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King […]

February 7, 2023

From left right: Nisqually Tribe Chairman Willy Frank III, Jim Wilcox of Wilcox Family Farms, and Nisqually Tribe Natural Resource Director David Troutt are shown in a still image from the TVW/Collaborative Leadership Project.">

A new oral history project looks at the unique development of natural resource policy in Washington state

Our affiliates at the Center for Urban Waters and external partners will examine 50 years of collaborative leadership in the state leading to groundbreaking outcomes on forest, fish, wildlife, land, and water management. Funding secured to date includes generous gifts and pledges from Anchor QEA, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the Nisqually Tribe, the Puget Sound […]

April 16, 2021


Environmental justice on the move: a few personal observations about change

I recently completed a much-involved writing project focused on environmental justice. It has been one of the most challenging, yet for me enlightening, efforts in my 45 years of covering the environment. My initial idea was to report on a plan by the Washington Department of Ecology to rewrite the regulations for the Model Toxics […]

January 21, 2021

A tufted puffin gets a running start near Smith Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington. Photo: Mick Thompson (CC BY-NC 2.0)">

Will Puget Sound lose the tufted puffin?

Occasionally, this space includes reports and essays from guest writers on the subject of Puget Sound ecosystem recovery. Biologist and author Eric Wagner has this look at the federal government’s recent decision to decline special protection for the tufted puffin under the Endangered Species Act. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that the […]

December 4, 2020


Discovery of toxic chemical in tires spurs scientific and regulatory interest

The discovery of a mysterious chemical that kills coho salmon in urban streams is expected to spawn new research throughout the world while possibly inspiring new demands for protective regulations. The deadly chemical, associated with automobile tires, was identified by researchers at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Waters, which is affiliated with the […]

October 30, 2020


Puget Sound Restoration Fund meets 10-year, 100-acre goal for restoring native oyster beds

A heartfelt congratulations goes out to Betsy Peabody, her staff at Puget Sound Restoration Fund, and the dozens of partner organizations working to restore our native Olympia oyster to Puget Sound. PSRF recently fulfilled its ambitious 10-year goal of enhancing habitat for the petite, succulent oysters across 100 acres of Puget Sound tidelands, establishing a […]

August 21, 2020


Does the public have a right to walk across a private beach? The answer is still unresolved

Even before Washington became a state in 1889, Puget Sound beaches had been exploited as log dumps, farmed for shellfish, occupied as homesites and enjoyed for recreation. But today, after 131 years of statehood, residents of this region still don’t know if they have a legal right to walk across a privately owned beach at […]