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December 20, 2021


Understanding the cold-water needs of salmon and helping them to survive

Salmon need cold water. This general statement is something I’ve been hearing since I first began reporting on these amazing migrating fish years ago. Cold water is a fact of life for salmon, known for their long travels up and down streams, out to saltwater and back. But colder is not always better. Questions about […]

December 24, 2020


New video focuses on salmon lifestyles in an ongoing series called “Tales of the Sound”

For newcomers to the Puget Sound region — or anyone who wishes to learn about salmon — check out the new video by my friend and former colleague Josh Farley of the Kitsap Sun. Like many print journalists who have expanded into multimedia, Josh became recognized for his quick-hit news reports. Especially popular was his […]

October 1, 2020


Do we know enough to do anything about all the seals and sea lions in Puget Sound?

Scientists have known for years that Chinook salmon are important to southern resident orcas, but Chinook are not the only fish the whales eat. At the moment, chum salmon are returning to Puget Sound, and recent orca sightings suggest that the whales may now be feeding on chum. Harbor seals also eat Chinook salmon, but […]

May 15, 2020


New steelhead strategy would include increased fishing and more hatcheries

Strategies to keep steelhead fishing alive while restoring steelhead populations to rivers in Puget Sound are spelled out in the “Quicksilver Portfolio” (PDF 2.3 mb), a document unveiled today before the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. After three years of study, the Puget Sound Steelhead Advisory Group announced that it was ready to solicit public […]

April 25, 2020


Warm-water ‘blobs’ significantly diminish salmon, other fish populations, study says

It’s no secret that salmon and other Northwest fish populations are expected to shrink as a result of a warming Pacific Ocean. But a new study suggests that the resulting decline in commercial fishing by 2050 could be twice as great as previously estimated by climate scientists. The higher estimates of population declines were calculated […]

March 5, 2020

Salmon smolts. Photo courtesy of Governor's Salmon Recovery Office">

Warming ocean conditions fuel viruses among species in the Salish Sea

As officials struggle to track and contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, ecologists say widespread impacts from viruses and other pathogens are also a growing threat to the species of the Salish Sea ecosystem. “We’re all especially impressed with how rapidly [COVID-19] emerged, the pace of its spread and how massively […]

October 9, 2019

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) swimming upstream. Photo: Ingrid Taylar (CC BY-NC 2.0)">

‘Early migration gene’ tied to unique population of Chinook

By Christopher Dunagan, Puget Sound Institute Recent studies have shown that Chinook salmon that spawn in the spring are genetically distinct from varieties that spawn during fall months. Experts are confronting the resulting ecological, social and legal implications of that finding. Each year, as the dark days of winter surrendered to the rebirth of spring, […]

June 4, 2019

A still from Engineering With Nature. Associate Professor Ed Kolodziej, at right, is interviewed by Katherine Lynch of Seattle Public Utilities.">

Kolodziej, Peter Featured in SIFF Documentary on Seattle’s Thornton Creek

A new documentary featuring PSI collaborators Ed Kolodziej and Kathy Peter was selected to premiere at the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) on Saturday, June 8. The 70-minute documentary, “Engineering with Nature – An Ode to Water, Wood, and Stone” was directed by environmental filmmaker Shelly Solomon and is distributed through Leaping Frog Films. […]

March 22, 2019

The research vessel Professor Kaganovsky. Photo courtesy of International Year of the Salmon.">

Salmon expedition reports unexpected findings

By Christopher Dunagan After five weeks at sea, a team of 21 scientists from five countries returned Monday with some surprising findings about the mysterious lives of salmon in the Pacific Ocean, according to Laurie Weitkamp, a salmon biologist with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Newport, Ore. “It was quite an experience,” said Weitkamp, […]