It has been more than ten years since the first of the Elwha River’s two dams was breached, and scientists are gaining new perspectives on the resilience of that ecosystem and its species. The dramatic sight of a river suddenly running free, and the swift return of its salmon has captured the public’s imagination. But a key factor driving the return of the Elwha’s fish populations is less visible. It exists in the microscopic realm, in the genes of the species. We are pleased to kick off a new series this week […]
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.
Our 2016 article “Killer whale miscarriages linked to low food supply” provided an early look at a study published this week in the journal PLOS ONE. PSI senior writer Christopher Dunagan wrote the article based on research that was presented at the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, and it remains a helpful summary of the newly published findings. Scientists have found that Puget Sound’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales are experiencing a high rate of miscarriages in large part because they are not getting enough food. The whales depend primarily […]
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.
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.