South Puget Sound

South Puget Sound Action Area mapThe South Sound, which includes all the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows, has nine finger inlets and over 450 miles of shoreline, including four large islands. Steep bluffs intersected by ravines border the Sound, and the terrain is the result of glacial activity, with many rolling hills and ridges. Many short streams follow ravine bottoms into the Sound, draining from upland lakes and wetlands. The Nisqually and Deschutes River are two of the major river systems. Much of the South Sound has low dissolved oxygen, due to slow circulation and nutrient sensitivity.

The South Sound Action Area has consistently exceeded Washington State’s growth rate since the 1960s, partly due to a stable economy and low cost of living in comparison to the Central Puget Sound region. Forestry and commercial shellfish harvest dominate the natural resources industry. The shellfish habitat in this region is some of the best in the world, and production of oysters, clams and mussels generated close to $97 million in 2005. Clean water is essential for the continued success of shellfish farming and the health of salmon and trout populations that utilize the nearshore areas. During winter and spring, populations of salmon from elsewhere in the Sound often travel to this action area to feed.


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