In a turnabout that offers hope for Puget Sound’s nearshore ecosystem, old bulkheads are now being removed faster than new bulkheads are being constructed, according to permit figures provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. In fact, officials with Puget Sound Partnership recently announced that the agency’s 2020 goal for reducing shoreline armoring had been reached — just barely — by the end of last year. Specifically, the goal, or target, was to remove more bulkheads, seawalls and other armoring (measured in length) than what was added from […]
Amid the struggle to save salmon and orcas and restore the Puget Sound ecosystem comes a renewed effort to consider not only how humans affect the environment but how the environment affects the lives of humans. The Puget Sound Partnership, which is overseeing the recovery of Puget Sound, has been developing a series of strategies to acknowledge and enhance the cultural, economic and psychological values that can come from a healthy natural environment. These new strategies, along with related actions, are to be incorporated into the 2022-26 Puget Sound Action […]
Over the past year or so, the EPA has begun funding a new effort to speed up and prioritize Puget Sound recovery. A coalition of state agencies and other partners is developing a series of plans known as Implementation Strategies that take on some of the practical considerations and next steps for the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda. We wrote about this last year in our magazine Salish Sea Currents, and have continued a series of stories about some of the science driving the process. We’ll be writing more stories […]
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.
By Jeff Rice The Puget Sound Partnership’s Salmon Recovery Council last Thursday gave preliminary approval to six of the seven proposed recovery priorities known as “bold actions” to improve Chinook salmon numbers in Puget Sound. One of the actions calling for “a net gain in ecosystem function and habitat productivity” for salmon was tabled for ongoing discussions in August and September. The actions were proposed last May by regional tribes dissatisfied with a state-proposed salmon plan known as the Chinook Implementation Strategy. Tribes felt that the strategy didn’t go far […]
New in Salish Sea Currents: Scientists want to know why eelgrass is on the decline in some areas of Puget Sound and not others. The answer will affect future strategies for protecting one of the ecosystem’s most critical saltwater plants. Read the full story from contributing writer Rachel Berkowitz in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
The Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council wants the opportunity to clarify the meaning of a new tribal proposal. By Christopher Dunagan, Puget Sound Institute Native American tribes in the Puget Sound region are calling for “bold actions” to reverse the decline of Puget Sound Chinook salmon, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Such actions would include: — Protecting all remaining salmon habitat in and around Puget Sound with more consistent and enforceable land-use regulations; — Preventing water uses that would limit salmon recovery; — Improving management of predators, […]
When rivers spill into Puget Sound, they provide some of the most productive habitat in the ecosystem. The ebb and flow of the tides creates a perfect mix of fresh and salt water critical for young salmon. But over the past 100 years, the region’s tidal wetlands have declined by more than 75%. A coalition of state and federal agencies has a plan to bring them back. Encyclopedia of Puget Sound contributing writer Eric Wagner reports on the status of several estuary restoration projects and how they fit into ecosystem recovery region-wide. Read the […]
The state of Washington estimates that the Puget Sound area will grow by more than 1.5 million residents within the next two decades. That is expected to have profound effects on the environment as more and more people move to undeveloped areas. The race is on to protect this critical rural habitat, but planners say what happens in the cities may be just as important. Read the story in Salish Sea Currents.
This week in Salish Sea Currents: PSI senior writer Christopher Dunagan reports on a new approach to flood control in Puget Sound. Rivers, scientists say, can be contained by setting them free. Conservationists hope this is good news for salmon recovery. The story is part of our ongoing series on the science of Puget Sound recovery. Funding for the series is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency.
New in Salish Sea Currents: We continue our series on Puget Sound’s EPA-funded Implementation Strategies. This week we take on Chinook recovery. As threatened Chinook populations continue to lose ground, the state is looking to new strategies to reverse the trend. In the Skagit watershed, the scientists — and the fish — are among those leading the way. Puget Sound-area writer Bob Friel reports from the newly-established Fir Island Farms Reserve where he witnessed the discovery of the very first Chinook to be found at that restoration project.
By Christopher Dunagan, Puget Sound Institute A desire to come up with “bold actions” for rebuilding Chinook salmon runs in Puget Sound has slowed approval of the first Chinook Implementation Strategy designed to accelerate recovery efforts for the threatened species. The Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, which oversees salmon-related planning, was scheduled to adopt the Chinook Implementation Strategy at its March meeting. The strategy underwent 14 months of study, discussion and review, and council staffers said it was ready for approval. Before the meeting, however, representatives of Puget-Sound-area Indian tribes […]