Occasionally, this space includes reports and essays from guest writers on the subject of Puget Sound ecosystem recovery. Social scientist Whitney Fleming has this dispatch on new findings that are being revealed by ancient sources. Archaeologists are looking at ancient DNA combined with oral histories to determine ecological conditions from the past. By Whitney Fleming People have inhabited the waters around the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. It is only in recently that humans have destroyed ecosystems in the Salish Sea to the point where they need fixing. Scientists […]
More than 70 percent of the seabird population of Puget Sound nests on a single island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. That includes a massive colony of rhinoceros auklets that has drawn the interest of scientists and birders alike. Our writer Eric Wagner visited the island this summer and reports on a long-term study of the auklets that is revealing new information about the health of seabirds in the Salish Sea. Read the story in Salish Sea Currents.
By Shannon Black Microplastics are found throughout the Salish Sea, but “surprisingly little is known about the sources of these particles,” report Canadian scientists who presented their findings last spring at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle. Now the group, led by Dr. Peter Ross at the Vancouver Aquarium is working to categorize the types of microplastics being found in the world’s oceans with the hope of identifying their origins and stopping the problem at its source. The team is using Fourier Transform Infra Red spectrometry (FTIR) to create […]
The story of Puget Sound’s starving resident orcas has come into dramatic focus over the past two weeks. As the world watches an orca grieve for her dead calf, and tribes and federal agencies prepare to try to feed a dangerously emaciated three-year-old orca in Jpod, we look at how the lack of Chinook salmon is exacerbating the effects of toxic chemicals on these whales, creating a deadly one-two punch. Read the story from Bob Friel in Salish Sea Currents.
A new study looks at social science and equity integration within the proceedings of the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. The study was produced by David Trimbach on behalf of the Puget Sound Partnership for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and the Puget Sound Institute. From the report’s Introduction: Social science and equity are increasingly considered integral aspects of ecosystem restoration and reflect an expanding recognition that diverse approaches, tools, and voices matter in recovery efforts. For the past 30 years, the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (SSEC 2018) has been […]
Chemicals, disease and other stressors can increase a salmon’s chance of being eaten or reduce its ability to catch food. We wrap up our series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project with a look at some of the lesser-known, but still significant factors contributing to salmon declines in the Salish Sea. Read the story in Salish Sea Currents.
Thousands of abandoned wood pilings — the ghosts of piers and docks past — are located throughout Puget Sound. Most of them are treated with creosote, a toxic chemical used to preserve wood that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of chemicals that are also associated with oil spills and burning of fossil fuels. While creosote-treated pilings are used less for construction of new piers, scientists at two state agencies are now studying the impacts of existing pilings on herring and shellfish populations along with the effectiveness of removal […]
A recent influx of anchovies into Puget Sound may have saved some steelhead from predators, but researchers seek more evidence to prove the connection. Our series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project continues with a look at these and other potential impacts from predators on the region’s salmon and steelhead. Read the story in Salish Sea Currents.
We’ve published part 2 of Christopher Dunagan’s series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. Getting bigger faster can help save juvenile Chinook salmon from a gauntlet of hungry predators ranging from birds and marine mammals to larger fish. We take a look at what helps salmon grow and prepare for life in the open ocean. Read the story in Salish Sea Currents.
An intensive research program in the U.S. and Canada is studying why so few salmon in the Salish Sea are returning home to spawn. They are uncovering a complex web of problems involving predators, prey and other factors that put salmon at risk as they migrate to the ocean. Puget Sound Institute senior writer Christopher Dunagan begins a four-part series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, including new findings presented at the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference last spring in Seattle. Read part one of the series in Salish Sea […]
Kids around the region are learning about the Salish Sea thanks to a new book that is being offered — in many cases free of cost — to Washington schools and libraries. Explore the Salish Sea from Sasquatch Books in Seattle inspires the next generation to appreciate and perhaps someday protect the environment close at hand. Read a Q & A with co-author Joe Gaydos in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
A high-profile salmon escape led to a ban on salmon farms in Washington earlier this year. But just across the border, scientists say salmon farms in British Columbia expose migrating fish from Puget Sound to potential maladies like parasites, bacteria and dangerous viruses. They say simply getting rid of salmon farms in Washington does not put the potential impacts to rest. Eric Wagner reports for our magazine Salish Sea Currents.