Puget Sound

Orcas
7:46 am
Tue July 22, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: Puget Sound Whales For Sale

A young orca captured in Penn Cove in 1970, which is believed to be Lolita, an orca that whale activists have been fighting to have set free in Puget Sound after 44 years in captivity at the Seaquarium in Miami.
Dr. Terrell Newby

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:00 am

The resident killer whales of Puget Sound are an endangered species. There are about 80 of them left.

But there was a time, not too long ago, when people were catching these whales and selling them into captivity.

Sandra Pollard has documented the history of orca capture in Puget Sound in a new book: Puget Sound Whales For Sale: The Fight To End Orca Hunting.

She spoke with EarthFix's Ashley Ahearn about this dark period in orca history.

Ashley Ahearn: Let’s go back in time here a little bit, why did people start catching orcas?

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Moon Snails
8:16 am
Mon July 14, 2014

What's Killing Clams? Solve This Low Tide Mystery

Why did so many healthy clams turn up dead at low tide last week?
Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

One of the lowest tides of the year this weekend revealed a "crime scene" at the beach at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

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Environmental Health
2:22 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Pregnant Women Should Eat More Fish, Unless It Was Caught In Puget Sound

Flickr Photo/Rob Bixby (CC-BYC-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman speaks with Bill Daniell, an associate professor at the UW's School of Public Health, about Washington's fish consumption rate — a little number that has a big impact.

EarthFix Reports
9:24 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Stalking Puget Sound Steelhead With Science

The crew of the research vessel Chasina gets ready to drop an acoustic telemetry receiver 300 feet down into Puget Sound. The device will record tagged steelhead as they swim out of their spawning rivers.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

You might call Barry Berejikian a steelhead stalker.

The government scientist’s pursuit of these anadromous trout has brought him to the deck of the Chasina, a research vessel that’s motoring through choppy gray waters of southern Puget Sound near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

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EarthFix Reports
8:22 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Northwest Starfish Experiments Give Scientists Clues To Mysterious Mass Die-Offs

A dying Pisaster ochraceus sea star in the waters off West Seattle dangles by its tentacles off an underwater piling that would normally be covered with a rainbow of sea stars.
Credit Laura James

Near the ferry docks on Puget Sound, a group of scientists and volunteer divers shimmy into suits and double-check their air tanks.

They move with the urgency of a group on a mission. And they are. They’re trying to solve a marine mystery.

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Resource Management
8:59 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Why Is Lake Washington's Water Level So Low? Ask The Engineers

The Lake Washington Ship Canal connects the lake with Puget Sound via Lake Union. The Army Corps of Engineers controls the water level of the lake by manipulating the water flow at the Ballard Locks.
Credit Flickr Photo/Seattle Munincipal Archives

You may have noticed that water levels at Lake Washington beaches are very low.

But if you think there might be some connection with the drought that is now gripping much of the western U.S., think again.

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Environment
2:44 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

How Far Along Is Puget Sound Partnership In Cleaning Up The Sound?

A view of Puget Sound from above.
Flickr Photo/David Prasad

Ross Reynolds talks with Joan Crooks, executive director of the Washington Environmental Council, about the progress made by the Puget Sound Partnership in restoring the health of Puget Sound.

EarthFix Reports
10:37 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Report: Bellingham Bay A Hostile Place For Small Marine Creatures

Brittle stars are sensitive to stressful environmental conditions and were absent or rarely found in a survey of Bellingham Bay's sediment.
Credit Clifton Herrmann

A wide array of tiny marine critters are struggling to survive in Bellingham Bay, according to a recently released report from the Washington Department of Ecology.

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EarthFix Reports
1:07 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Washington Officials Say Shellfish Is Safe For China To Import

Credit Flickr Photo/USDAgov

Washington state officials said Tuesday they found lower contamination levels when they tested geoduck clams than those alleged by China when it said geoduck imported from Puget Sound had high levels of arsenic.

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A Whale's Wail
5:00 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Call Of The Sound: Romance Of Foghorns Endures

A Washington state ferry moves through the fog.
Flickr Photo/Steve Johnson

If you live near downtown Seattle, you may have recently heard a long, low horn reverberating through the soupy nighttime air.

It happens every once in a while and has some Seattleites mystified. Where does the sound come from? It is a train? A boat? Last call at a Capitol Hill bar?

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Puget Sound
9:03 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Watch Underwater Video Of Sea Stars Dying Off West Seattle

A dying sea star dangles by its tentacles off an underwater piling in West Seattle.

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:00 pm

Laura James called it one of the saddest things she’s ever seen underwater.

Sea stars -- iconic and ever present in Northwest coastal waters -- suddenly becoming sick and dying before her eyes in numbers too great to count. The long time Puget Sound diver said she’s never seen anything like this in 20 years of diving.

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Under The Sea
9:01 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Photos Down Under: A Light Beams From Puget Sound

Lion's mane jelly
Courtesy of Ann Dornfeld

Puget Sound, a spidery inlet of the Pacific Ocean, has often been derided as murky, toxic and so, so cold.

But Ann Dornfeld, KUOW’s education reporter, has come to love the Sound, where she photographs marine life. Her favorite marine invertebrate is a nudibranch. (Her favorite nudibranch is a Cockerell's dorid.)

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Environment
1:46 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Orca Population Declines As Puget Sound ‘Remains In Crisis’

Courtesy of NOAA/Candice Emmons

Citing worsening marine water quality and the declining orca population, Chinook salmon and herring, the state agency Puget Sound Partnership referred to the Puget Sound as a patient in “critical condition.”

“Puget Sound remains in crisis,” says a report released last week by the agency. “It is increasingly likely that we will not reach our legislatively established targets by 2020.”

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Mystery Marine Killer
7:30 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Mass Starfish Die-Off May Be Headed For Washington

Disembodied arms of a diseased sea star near Popham Island, 12 miles northwest of Vancouver, B.C.
Courtesy Vancouver Aquarium

Scientists in two nations are on the lookout for an underwater epidemic that is killing starfish. 

In September, divers in Vancouver Harbour and Howe Sound near Vancouver, British Columbia, noticed the pizza-sized starfish known as sunflower stars wasting away and dying in large numbers.

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Fishing Ban
10:15 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Octopuses' Gardens: State Designates 7 No-Hunt Spots

KUOW Photo/Meghan Walker

When a 19-year-old man lured a giant Pacific octopus from its lair off Alki Beach in West Seattle last year – legally, it turned out – a small group of activists were aghast that the charismatic cephalopod wasn’t protected.

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