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Puget Sound

The Canadian government approved a crude-oil pipeline project that is much larger than the one generating protests in North Dakota and could bring a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic to the Salish Sea.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the Kinder-Morgan Transmountain pipeline expansion project. The pipeline currently brings crude from Alberta’s oil sands region to the coast of British Columbia.

Now the company is approved to more than double the pipeline’s capacity.

People gathered to listen to the announcement about the latest orca death brought signs calling for the breaching of the Snake River dams.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It’s been a bad year for the southern orca community. Seattle’s Center for Whale Research says a second adult female has died. That brings the recent death toll to three.

Advocates for a healthier Puget Sound have long contended that it needs to be treated as a nationally significant water body, just like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

Such recognition, they say, will attract more money and attention for improving the Sound’s environmental health.

KUOW / John Ryan photo

Wind and heavy rain could make this weekend tough for Puget Sound dwellers.

The storm could be rough on the sound's underwater residents as well.


It's a gloomy prediction by Seattle weather forecasters: the storm coming this weekend could be one of the worst in Seattle's history.

Most wind storms make landfall close to Vancouver Island, hitting the coast the hardest. National Weather Service computer models predict this time the strongest winds could come inland.

Dungeness crab
Flickr Photo/Colleen Proppe (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ajKVBW

There has been a significant change in the waters in Puget Sound, according to a new NOAA Fisheries report. In 2015, the temperatures rose more than any other year in recorded history.

UW-Tacoma biologist Aimee Kinney looks for small invertebrates that salmon feed on along a less-degraded patch of heavily walled Alki Beach in West Seattle.
kUOW Photo/John Ryan

In Seattle's King County, property owners have walled off most of the shoreline with concrete bulkheads and other heavy infrastructure.

Along Hood Canal and other rural parts of the sound, the owners of coveted waterfront homes keep building more walls to keep their properties from eroding.

Douglass Brown was walking down Titlow Beach in Tacoma with a girl he liked when he saw a giant thing – that looked like an octopus tentacle – emerge from the water. He ran, screaming.
Illustration by Tom Dougherty

Douglass Brown was 15 when he saw a giant tentacle emerge from Puget Sound.

He was in Tacoma, walking down the beach with a girl he liked. Then he looked out at the water.

Spawning salmon
Flickr Photo/BLM Oregon (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1ib9a9C

Bill Radke speaks with Joel Baker, science director of the Center for Urban Waters at the University of Washington Tacoma, about a recent study that shows a laundry list of ​pharmaceutical drugs are showing up in fish in Puget Sound. 

seastars
Flickr Photo/Tony Cyphert (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6yVwN2b

Bill Radke speaks with University of Puget Sound biologist Joel Elliot about his recent study that links a virus known as sea star wasting syndrome that is killing millions of sea stars along the West Coast with warming waters.

Warm Waters Linked To Sea Star Wasting

Feb 16, 2016

During the height of the sea star die-offs in 2014, millions of stars up and down the West Coast were wasting away. At the same time, sea surface temperatures in the northeast Pacific Ocean were the warmest recorded in decades.

Scientists suspected a connection.

When the new baby orca L120 was spotted in just off of San Juan Island in Puget Sound, Ken Balcomb passed out cigars to celebrate.

But the long-time killer whale researcher knew that the southern resident orca pods needed a lot more than one new member. That was back in September 2014. Their numbers were down to 78, the smallest since 1985. L120 was the first baby orca born in two years.

Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop.
Flickr Photo/Ryan Manuel (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1P3W1wT

When someone claiming to be a Seattleite tells you not to carry an umbrella, don’t listen. Umbrellas are practical, and they prevent you from getting wet. Carry an umbrella.

Scientists have found dozens of poisoned dolphins, whales and sea lions off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California this year. They tested positive for a toxin caused by a massive algae bloom this summer in the Pacific Ocean.

Toxic domoic acid is produced by algae in the ocean, and this year the algae are thriving in the largest bloom ever recorded here. Marine mammals are poisoned when they eat fish that are contaminated.

A new study suggests that Puget Sound shellfish producers could expand some of their operations without significantly affecting the environment.

Researchers undertook the study to determine what would happen if more areas along Puget Sound were devoted to the farming of giant geoduck clams.

Rising demand from China is driving the push to expand Puget Sound aquaculture. Some residents are opposed to increased shellfish farming.

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