By Jeff Rice Scientists at the Puget Sound Institute (PSI) and the Center for Urban Waters have taken their research to the highest place on earth. The same techniques used to analyze water quality in Puget Sound are being applied at Everest base camp. Water samples were collected on the mountain and sent back to PSI researchers Andy James and Justin Miller-Schulze as part of a study on potential human impacts on drinking water. New techniques can identify chemical tracers known as CECs that indicate human sources.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) were banned in the 1970s, but continue to persist in sediments at the bottom of Puget Sound. A vestige of earlier use and improper disposal, they remain among the most toxic pollutants in local waters, are implicated in the decline of the region’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population, and are at the heart of the current debate about fish consumption rates in the Pacific Northwest. Cleaning up PCB-contaminated sediments such as those found in the Duwamish Waterway in Seattle is an expensive and often contentious issue. […]
Is technology changing the way we think about ecosystem information? PSI’s Encyclopedia of Puget Sound will host a two-part session on new approaches to ecosystem synthesis at this spring’s Salish Sea conference. Presentations will run the gamut from demonstrations of visualization software to wiki-based conceptual models. The session will conclude with a 30-minute panel discussion featuring Joel Baker, University of Washington Puget Sound Institute, Rob Fatland of Microsoft Research, Amy Merten of NOAA’s Office of response and Restoration, Ian Perry of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Charles Simenstad, University of […]
Species and their habitats are a foundation of the ecosystem framework, but there is currently no generally agreed upon habitat classification system for Puget Sound. The closest thing for its marine and nearshore environments may be Dr. Megan Dethier’s 1990 resource A Marine and Estuarine Habitat Classification System for Washington State. Much of the work for that document was done in the general vicinity of Puget Sound, and it has been an influential resource for major habitat mapping efforts in the region, such as Shorezone. Last year, PSI’s Encyclopedia of Puget […]
Our colleague Kurt Marx is moderating a session at the Managing Stormwater in the Northwest conference on March 5th in Tacoma. Approximately 75% of the pollution in Puget Sound comes from stormwater runoff, and the conference looks at how businesses in particular can lower their impact. Visit the conference website.
The U.S. government spends billions on disaster relief every year—$136 billion between 2011 and 2013 alone—but one crucial area tends to be overlooked. There are often major gaps in the scientific understanding of the environments in question. When disasters hit, responders must often play catch up, using valuable time assessing prior ecological conditions or pulling together scattered sources of information. In a recent paper in the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Center for Urban Waters Distinguished Scientist in Residence Usha Varanasi proposes a new model for disaster-planning and response, in which […]
Local communities play an important role in the development of the state’s Action Agenda for Puget Sound recovery. The Puget Sound Partnership has established a series of Local Integrating Organizations (LIOs) in nine geographic regions to help establish conservation priorities. A 2014 report from the Puget Sound Institute looks at this process as it occurred in the Island County region.
A PSI report released in January describes a recent workshop to integrate the social sciences into Puget Sound ecosystem monitoring. Future work will focus in part on several of the Puget Sound Partnership’s designated ecosystem indicators, including categories such as Healthy Human Population and Human Quality of Life. Read the full report on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
The Puget Sound Leadership Council has appointed four new members to the Puget Sound Science Panel, including two Canadian scientists. Ian Perry of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Terre Satterfield of the University of British Columbia join Nives Dolsak and Tim Essington of the University of Washington. Bill Labiosa was re-appointed. Their terms extend to November 2017. Nives Dolšak is Associate Professor at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (University of Washington Seattle campus) and School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (Bothell campus). She is also a Visiting Associate […]