Friday, June 12, 2009

Puget Sound


The Puget Sound and Georgia Basin was once one of the most productive Salmonid regions in the world. Formed roughly 10 thousand years ago as last glacial period ended, the rivers in the region contained a highly diverse spectrum of habitats. From their high gradient montane headwaters to their broad alluvial valleys they supported five species of salmon, winter steelhead, cutthroat and many supported summer steelhead as well as bull trout. Over the last century and a half habitat degradation, pollution, overfishing and massive hatchery supplementation have driven both Chinook and Steelhead to the ESA and all other species have experiencing lesser declines. Today a growing population in the region is resulting in severe degradation of the sounds water quality and there are serious concerns about the overall health of the ecosystem. Recently the PBS series frontline did a special covering the polluted state of many of our nations water ways and parts 6 through 11 all deal with the startling realities of the degraded state of Puget Sound. Watch the full series here...

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/poisonedwaters/view/

Its not all bad new for the sound though and a two recent developments promise to help clean up the huge contaminant problems in the sound.

For decades the city of Victoria has been dumping raw sewage into the sound. This huge imput of sewage waste creates nutrient pollution altering the ecosystem as well as dumping countless other untreated toxins into the system. See the coverage in the Seattle times...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009324861_apwavictoriassewage2ndldwritethru.html?syndication=rss

In response to the public outcry about the degradation of the Puget Sound ecosystem the federal government recently approved a 150% increase in cleanup funding. We can only hope that with a concerted effort at multiple levels of govermnet and serious changes in pollution, development and hatchery practices we can recover the sound to some semblance of its former glory. See the article about the federal funding hike from the Bellingham Herald.

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/102/story/945862.html

1 comment:

gout said...

I found that show to be rather disappointing. I guess contaminants are sexy but they are only a small part of the myriad problems in PS. I would like to see awareness raised on other issues such as hatcheries, estuarine habitat loss, shoreline armoring, and degradation of the pelagic ecosystem. Nice blog BTW.