The Puget Sound Institute’s Andy James is the corresponding editor of a 2019 report on monitoring and research activities focused on toxic contaminants in the Salish Sea. The report from the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program covers a range of case studies including the occurrence of microplastics and pharmaceuticals in shellfish, PCBs in river otters and new findings on persistent contaminants and heavy metals in fish. Copies are available on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound and other sources on the Web.
Many people thought the issue of regulating toxic chemical discharges into Puget Sound was settled when the federal government forced Washington state to use stricter criteria, but the debate may be underway once again. By Christopher Dunagan An unlikely disagreement between state and federal authorities over water-quality standards has flared up again. Two years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in to impose more stringent water-quality standards than those approved by Washington state. Now a petition from industry groups is causing the EPA to review its earlier stance. For years, […]
PSI collaborator Ed Kolodziej has received a $330,000 National Science Foundation grant to expand his research on toxic pollutants in Puget Sound. Kolodziej’s project will identify chemicals in stormwater that are killing coho salmon and endangering some spawning runs. The project includes a collaboration with citizen scientists who will alert project members to salmon die-offs as they are happening. Kolodziej’s team will then collect water and tissue samples from these sites that they will analyze at the labs of PSI’s parent group the Center for Urban Waters. Project summary In […]
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 […]
This much we know: Stormwater is nasty stuff. The state of Washington has called it one of the leading threats to the Puget Sound ecosystem — it can kill salmon within hours and it contributes to all kinds of health problems for species ranging from orcas to humans. What we don’t know is exactly what’s in it. Rain and snowmelt wash an untold number of toxics into our waterways, but there is no such thing as typical stormwater. Its chemical makeup varies from place to place and depends on local […]