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You may have noticed some updates to the site's search structure. We have made it easier to search by subject. The articles page now includes a list of keywords that link to overviews and related articles. We will be adding new keywords and overviews as we identify new content. You can also browse by article type or 'most recent' posts.  

Walking on the rocks along the Sound. Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle, WA. Photo: cleverdame107 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council Chair Martha Kongsgaard calls it “the Holy Grail” of ecosystem-based management. It is the grand question. The ‘why.’

The Stillaguamish River is one of the rivers in the Puget Sound region closed to fishing. Photo by Walter Siegmund.

Drought conditions prompted fishing closures on numerous rivers throughout Washington yesterday, including several in North Puget Sound.


The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is founded on a spirit of collaboration and data sharing.   One key Encyclopedia partner is NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (ORR). Their Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) is our go-to site for web-based spatial data and maps.

A friendly sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo by Jeff Rice

Washington's sea otters were once a casualty of the fur trade. They had disappeared from the state until their reintroduction in the 1970s, and now occasionally make their way into Puget Sound. They are rarely seen here—most of the supposed sea otter sightings in Puget Sound turn out to be river otters on a salty detour—but one reliable place to find them is the Seattle Aquarium. I visited early Sunday morning at feeding time, where a young sea otter named Mishka called for her breakfast.

The deadline for proposals for special sessions is June 30, 2015.

The 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference is now accepting proposals for special sessions. This year’s conference theme is “Strengthening Connections around Changing Times,” and the deadline for proposals June 30, 2015.

Next year’s conference will be held in Vancouver, B.C. from April 13-15, 2016.

Read more at the conference website.

Stressors with Very High or High Potential Impact in Puget Sound

In the early days, the polluters were easier to spot. There were the usual suspects—industrial pipes pumped toxic chemicals into the water; dams blocked the way for salmon; natural resources were overharvested. Those problems still persist, but ecosystem management in Puget Sound has become increasingly complicated since the 1970s and 1980s.


SAVE THE DATE: The next Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference is scheduled for April 13-15, 2016 in Vancouver, B.C. For additional information visit the conference website, and watch the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound for updates as they become available.


Encyclopedia of Puget Sound climate change topic editor Amy Snover has been honored as a White House Champion of Change for her work in climate change education and literacy. Snover is the Director of the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and is Assistant Dean for Applied Research in the University of Washington’s College of the Environment.

Salish Sea Currents printed flyers

The Salish Sea Currents magazine series has been very popular with our readers.  As part of this project, we offer a printer-friendly, 2-page flyer of each story.  These PDF flyers, which are suitable for your favorite bulletin board or for distribution at meetings, are available for download within the related links section of each story.  We also offer them here for convenience. Enjoy!


The Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council has adopted the 2014-16 Biennial Science Work Plan, a technical document identifying and recommending priority science for Puget Sound recovery.

View the document.


The new EPA cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway seeks to remove 90% of the river’s pollution over a period of 17 years. The EPA issued the following press release today.

EPA releases final Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund cleanup plan

Release Date: 12/02/2014

Contact Information: Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454,

Plan results in 90 percent pollution reduction and builds on work by community, local governments and businesses

Mean sea level trend in Seattle, WA (1898-2006). A rising sevel trend of 2.06 mm/yr (0.68 feet per100 years) was observed at a station in the Seattle, WA area. (NOAA. 2012).

Climate change, like politics, is local. "At least that is how you have to look at the impacts," says Encyclopedia of Puget Sound topic editor Amy Snover. Snover is the Director of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington and has been conducting research on the expected 'time of emergence' for climate change in the Puget Sound region.


When can we expect to see the full impacts of climate change in Puget Sound, and what will those be? EoPS topic editor Amy Snover will present new research in a talk tomorrow (November 19th) at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her presentation is from 2-3:30 at the UWT Research Commons, 3rd Floor Tioga Library Building (TLB) 1907 Jefferson Ave, Tacoma.


The University of Washington Puget Sound Insti­tute is seek­ing a highly-motivated full-time research sci­en­tist to ana­lyze and syn­the­size, and help design a com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan for, the results of 30–35 research projects con­ducted over the last 4 years focused on recov­ery and pro­tec­tion of the nearshore and marine envi­ron­ments of Puget Sound. This is an 8-month project, and we are seek­ing a PhD-level indi­vid­ual with a back­ground in aquatic ecol­ogy, and con­nect­ing sci­ence to pol­icy; famil­iar­ity with the Puget Sound region is a plus.

Rhinoceros Auklet carrying sandlances. Photo by Peter Hodum.

A study this month by NOAA shows a disturbing trend among Puget Sound seabirds. Persistent organic pollutants like flame retardants and PCBs continue to find their way into the marine food chain and are showing up in high concentrations in rhinoceros auklets and other birds in Washington, especially those birds that feed near the waters of Puget Sound.


The Puget Sound Partnership is accepting applications for appointment to the Puget Sound Science Panel as the terms of four panel members expire in November. Applications are due by 4:00 PM on October 27th.

Read more about the application process.


[The application process is now closed.]

The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is seeking a part-time (~8 hours/week) Editorial Assistant. The position is available now, through December 2014 and possibly beyond. Special consideration will be given to individuals with science writing experience.

Duties will include:


Coming soon in Salish Sea Currents: Toxics in Puget Sound first came to the prominent attention of the public in the 1980s, when scientists noticed tumors developing in bottom-dwelling fish near the Duwamish River. Headlines read “don’t eat the fish” and people were shocked to find that what they once idealized as a pristine environment was a dumping ground for industrial chemicals. Now, long after places like the Duwamish and the Foss waterways have become superfund sites, the toxic threat to Puget Sound continues to evolve. 


New! The Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program has released its overview of Puget Sound water conditions for 2013. Some highlights: atypical weather may have caused unusual phytoplankton blooms. Surface water (0-50 m) was "warmer than normal from January to June and cooler than normal late in 2013." Shellfish bed closures due to contaminants were at normal levels, but there were no reported illnesses from biotoxins in shellfish. No fish kills from dissolved oxygen were reported in Hood Canal.