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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 puffin has “robust populations across the majority of its range,” the bird’s numbers in Washington, including Puget Sound, have dropped severely in recent years. Wagner recalls what it was like when things were different and […]
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 […]
Washington and British Columbia residents are largely unfamiliar with the Salish Sea. A recent study conducted by the SeaDoc Society and Oregon State University reveals a need to improve geographic literacy and familiarity with the Salish Sea among those communities who share and live alongside this integrated transboundary ecosystem. This is a guest blog from two of the collaborators on the survey, David Trimbach of Oregon State University and Joe Gaydos, Science Director at the SeaDoc Society. By David Trimbach and Joe Gaydos Do place names matter? For about a […]
A Puget Sound scientist’s work is never done. PSI’s Lead Ecosystem Ecologist Tessa Francis sent us this e-mail about a recent call to identify some wayward fish on Vashon Island. It didn’t hurt that she happens to study the same species of fish — Pacific herring — as part of her research at PSI. By Tessa Francis Two days into the New Year I got a text at lunch from Vashon Island Nature Center staff with a picture of dozens of fish in a pool: ‘Wondering if you could tell what […]
By Jeff Rice, Puget Sound Institute A strong economy driven by a world-leading technology industry is expected to draw millions of new residents to the Salish Sea region within decades. This changing population brings with it new strains on the environment but also new perspectives. Incoming residents may not see Puget Sound the same way as previous generations. Many will have different relationships to the natural world or come from other cultural backgrounds and traditions. Technology will also play a role, not just as an economic driver, but as an […]
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 in Salish Sea Currents.
Concerns are growing that an earthquake or major ship accident could cause a failure that would halt ship traffic — or, worse, drop water levels in Lake Washington and Lake Union by up to 20 feet. That could mean stranded boats, disabled bridges and big problems for salmon restoration. Read the story in Salish Sea Currents on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
They are sometimes called ‘zombie’ chemicals. Some compounds thought to be safe and inactive can change into dangerously active forms when they are exposed to the environment. Two recent papers co-authored by PSI collaborator Ed Kolodziej look at some of the ways that regulators may need to account for these transformations. Cole, EA, McBride, SA, Kimbrough, KC, Lee, J, Marchand, EA, Cwiertny, DM, Kolodziej, EP. (2015). Rates and product identification for trenbolone acetate metabolite biotransformation under aerobic conditions. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Volume: 34, Issue: 7, pgs. 1472-1484; DOI: 10.1002/etc.2962. Read the full paper. Ward, AS, Cwiertny, DM, Kolodziej, […]
Our Director Joel Baker recently co-authored Microplastics in the Ocean: A Global Assessment, an international report commissioned by GESAMP (The Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). GESAMP is an inter-Agency Body of the United Nations, comprised of a group of independent scientists providing advice to UN Agencies on a wide variety of ocean matters. The report examined the global distribution of micro plastic particles, their known and hypothesized effects on marine organisms, and evaluated potential solutions. Download the report.