About the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound

The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is a comprehensive guide to the science of Salish Sea ecosystem recovery. Articles on this site describe the region's major environmental threats and areas of concern, but also the facts and stories that make the Salish Sea an estuary of international importance. The website is a product of the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute and receives major support from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program.

Our mission: Promote synthesis and improve access to the best available, most relevant scientific information in support of Salish Sea recovery.


About 4,600 miles of coastline wind from southern Puget Sound to northern British Columbia along what is known as the Salish Sea. It is a land of connections and contradictions. Snowmelt from three national parks feeds more than a thousand creeks and rivers that in turn flow into the rich floodplains and estuaries of places like the Skagit Valley and the Nisqually Delta. It is one of the most diverse and spectacular ecosystems in the world, a fact made more incredible because it is also home to 8 million people.

In this sense, the Salish Sea is as much about salmon and orcas as it is about traffic jams and development. Humans have called the Salish Sea home for thousands of years, but over the past century, our presence has taken its toll. Increasingly, we turn to science to help us understand our effect on the ecosystem. Researchers across two nations and dozens of tribes now measure and study the region's health, and hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on its protection.

The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound was developed out of an urgent need to tell this story. These pages include the most current science on a wide variety of topics ranging from climate change and stormwater to species and habitat loss. It is the story of where we live and what we are trying to protect.

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Editorial board

  • Joel Baker, University of Washington Tacoma Puget Sound Institute
  • Patrick Christie, University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
  • Tessa Francis, University of Washington Tacoma Puget Sound Institute (On leave)
  • Joe Gaydos, University of California, SeaDoc Society
  • Parker MacCready, University of Washington School of Oceanography
  • Timothy Quinn, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Charles 'Si' Simenstad, University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Learn more about the Editorial Board.

Former editorial board members: 

Amy Snover, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group

Editorial staff

  • Executive Director: Joel Baker
  • Managing Editor: Jeff Rice
  • Programmer and Data Engineer: Dwaine Trummert
  • Puget Sound Science Review Contributors
  • Senior Writer: Christopher Dunagan
  • Staff writer: Eric Wagner
  • Page design and production: Sylvia Kantor
  • Contributing Writers (Salish Sea Currents):
    • Maggie Allen
    • Sophia Amberson
    • Nina Bednarsek
    • Rachel Berkowitz
    • Catalina Burch
    • Dalana Dailey
    • Emily Davis
    • Sarah DeWeerdt
    • Christopher Dunagan
    • Virginia Emery
    • Megan Feddern
    • Bob Friel
    • Nicholas Georgiadis
    • Katie Harrington
    • Maddison Hicks
    • Julia Indivero
    • Jakob Jarecki
    • Brittany Jones
    • Sylvia Kantor
    • Katie Keil
    • Robin McClachlan
    • Rachael Mueller
    • Stuart Munsch
    • Margaret Siple
    • Joe Smith
    • Alex Stote
    • Genoa Sullaway
    • Michael Tillotson
    • David Trimbach
    • Sydne Tursky
    • Yaamini Venkataraman
    • Eric Wagner
    • David B. Williams

Acknowledgment and thanks to former contributors:

  • Web Architect: Kris Symer
  • GIS Interns: David Schoenfeld; Ryan Ulsberger; Kyle Reneman
  • Editorial Interns: Dalana Dailey, Gabrielle Paulson; Jake Strickland; Alex Yuly
  • Production Assistant: Michelle Hartman
  • Editorial Assistant: Dalana Dailey; Emily Zelig; Amelia Apfel
  • Systems Administrators: David Hazel, Kyle King

Puget Sound Institute contributing scientists

  • Joel Baker, Director, PI
  • Tessa Francis, Lead Ecosystem Ecologist
  • Nicholas Georgiadis, Senior Research Scientist
  • Andy James, Senior Research Scientist
  • Aimee Kinney, Research Scientist
  • Tanya Roberts, Research Scientist 
  • Christopher Wright, Research Scientist

Web development partners

We are pleased to have on our team expert staff at UW Tacoma:

Special thanks to the UW Creative Communications Design & Web team for their work on the initial site design:

  • Web Development Lead: Nigel Heinsius
  • Web Developer: Heather Larson
  • Senior Designer: Jo-Ann Sire
  • Design Lead: John Linse


The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is a publication of the Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington Tacoma. Major funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Content partners

Content on this site is a combination of originally commissioned works, syndicated, and shared material as cited. Species descriptions in our species library are provided in part by the Encyclopedia of Life and NatureServe. Many photos are shared through the Flickr Creative Commons license. Maps are published on ERMA in partnership with NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration. Peer-reviewed content for the Puget Sound Science Review is provided by the Puget Sound Partnership's Puget Sound Science Update. In-situ monitoring observations are provided by the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS).

Puget Sound Institute logoUniversity of Washington signature

U.S. EPA logoPuget Sound Partnership logo

UW Friday Harbor LaboratoriesNorthwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) logoEncyclopedia of LifeNatureServe


The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is modeled after other online efforts such as the Encyclopedia of Life and the Encyclopedia of Earth, and also builds upon the contributions of the Puget Sound Partnership and Puget Sound Science Panel. We are grateful to be able to include major content from the Partnership's 2011 Puget Sound Science Update in these pages. Other organizations such as NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration, NOAA Fisheries, the Washington Natural Heritage Program and NatureServe have contributed mapping and data resources as well as advice and synthesis content. Additional inspiration comes from iNaturalist and its creative uses of APIs. We also thank the many members (mostly anonymous) of the Drupal community who build and refine the open source code that runs our site. Our list of contributors and collaborators continues to grow.