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Killer whale with calf. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Task force narrows list of ideas to save killer whales from extinction

By Christopher Dunagan The term “no silver bullet” has been heard again and again as dozens of experts from throughout the state examine ideas that might help avoid extinction for Puget Sound’s beloved orcas. The Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, created by the governor, is considering short-term actions — such as increasing hatchery production …

Chinook salmon leaping at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. Photo: Ingrid Taylar (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylar/29739921130

New studies on emerging threats to salmon

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 …

A harbor seal hunting anchovies. From Howe Sound Ballet video by Bob Turner: https://youtu.be/Ycx1hvrPAqc

Could anchovies and other fish take pressure off salmon and steelhead?

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 …

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo: Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Opening the black box: What’s killing Puget Sound’s salmon and steelhead?

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 …

A US Fish & Wildlife Atlantic employee displays an Atlantic Salmon with characteristic large black spots on the gill cover. Credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS (CC BY 2.0) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atlantic_Salmon_(9680675578).jpg

Despite WA ban on farmed salmon, BC impacts may flow across border

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 …

A dying female coho salmon in the Lower Duwamish spotted by Puget Soundkeeper volunteers in October 2017. Photo: Kathy Peter

What makes stormwater toxic?

Stormwater may be Puget Sound’s most well-known pollutant, and at the same time its least known. While the state has called stormwater Puget Sound’s largest source of toxic contaminants, scientists are still having a tough time answering two basic questions about it: What is stormwater, exactly, and what does it do? Our magazine Salish Sea …

Salmon council approves new priorities for Chinook recovery

By Jeff Rice, Puget Sound Institute The Puget Sound Partnership Salmon Recovery Council has posted a list of recommended priority actions for Chinook salmon recovery. The measures were proposed last spring by area tribes hoping to see stronger efforts to protect the region’s threatened Chinook populations. The document summarizes nine recommendations approved by the Council …

Are we making progress on salmon recovery?

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 …

‘Bold actions’ to save Puget Sound salmon gain qualified support

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 …