FRISCO — Biologists looking at 40 years of fisheries data from Puget Sound have documented a dramatic shift in marine species. Key fish in the food chain, like herring and smelt, have declined, while the number of jellyfish has increased exponentially, to the detriment of the marine ecosystem.
FRISCO — Threatened Chinook salmon have been able to adapt to many changes over millennia, but climate change presents a big new threat, as many rivers around Puget Sound have seen bigger fluctuations in stream flows during the past 60 years.
“There’s more flooding in late fall and winter,” said Eric Ward, an ecologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center. “This is happening when the eggs are in the gravel or when the juveniles are most susceptible.”
The fringe property rights advocacy group claimed, based in invalid science, that the Puget Sound “southern resident” killer whales are not a distinct population. In response, the federal government conducted a year-long review of the status and eligibility of the orcas for Endangered Species Act protection and confirmed that the whale’s endangered listing remains warranted. Continue reading “Puget Sound orcas keep ESA protection”→
Right-wing property rights group files nuisance petition
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — An anti-environmental property rights groups has successfully petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to reconsider its Endangered Species Act listing for Puget Sound’s resident orcas, more formally known as southern resident killer whales.
Puget Sound orcas have had endangered status since 2005, when federal biologists listed them due to threats from pollution, habitat destruction and over-collection by the marine aquarium industry. Puget Sound orcas are one of a few populations to feed extensively on salmon; they have a unique dialect; and previous studies have shown they are genetically unique. Continue reading “Oceans: Feds to consider de-listing Puget Sound orcas”→
SUMMIT COUNTY — A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary survey of Puget Sound suggests that increased concentrations of atmospheric carbon are turning the water more corrosive during certain seasons, with potentially significant impacts to shellfish populations.
The study was conducted by the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program, a scientific partnership among universities and government agencies. The report also documented the presence of unusual, harmful algae that can contaminate shellfish, as well as nutrients from human activities, both of which have the potential to degrade water quality.
Washington designates Puget Sound as ‘waters of concern’
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The waters of Puget Sound are at-risk from ocean acidification, Washington State officials said as they designated the entire sound as “waters of concern” in a water quality report to the EPA.
Data collected by the state suggests that ocean acidification is threatening the region’s ability to support fish and shellfish. The designation also makes the area a priority for more monitoring and assessment.
“With 2010 the wettest year on record and third warmest for sea surface temperatures, NOAA and our partners are working to uncover how a changing climate can affect our health and our prosperity,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “These studies and others like it will better equip officials with the necessary information and tools they need to prepare for and prevent risks associated with changing oceans and coasts.”