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Posted 2/26/2020 by David B. Williams

Snowmelt on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Mountains, WA. Photo: Beth Jusino (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9WRS8J

Puget Sound's 'warm snow’ makes region vulnerable to climate shifts

Climate models project that if carbon emmisions continue as they are now, the vast majority of watersheds feeding Puget Sound will receive more rain and far less snow by 2080, causing increased flooding and other dramatic changes to the freshwater ecosystem. We look at the past and possible future of the region's snowpack and what this might mean for salmon and other species — including humans. 

Posted 1/14/2020 by Christopher Dunagan

Smokestacks in sunlight. Photo: Joe Brusky (CC BY-NC 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/)

Air contaminants, such as mercury and PCBs, undermine the health of Puget Sound

High levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals are showing up in seemingly remote and pristine parts of the Puget Sound watershed, the result of atmospheric deposition. Scientists talk about a “dome” of pollution hanging over urban areas, leading to a never-ending cycle of persistent compounds working their way through the air, onto the land and into the water.

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About the magazine

Welcome to Salish Sea Currents, an online magazine of feature stories focusing on the science of ecosystem recovery. Stories are typically grouped into sponsored series based on timely issues or events. Join us as we report on some of the key issues driving Puget Sound recovery.

This magazine is published by the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute (PSI) with major funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. To be notified of new stories, subscribe to the PSI eNews list.


Browse series:

Themes from the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

Stories exploring major research themes presented during the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle, WA.

SSEC16 snapshots

Brief reports from the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, BC. Complements the more in-depth stories in Themes from the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

Disease as an ecological force

A main story and two vignettes on impacts of disease in the ecosystem. Sponsored by U.S. EPA.

In the third series of Salish Sea Currents, we present a main story and two vignettes on impacts of disease in the ecosystem. [View printable PDF of this series]

Invasive species in Puget Sound

A main story and 3 vignettes on the sources, impacts, and regulation of non-native species entering local waters. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Nearly half of the invasive species in Puget Sound's marine waters have been found within the last 20 years. Among the most common pathways for invaders are ships and boats that may carry thousands of tiny hitchhikers. Our series looks at this growing threat and some of the species of top concern.  To be notified of new Salish Sea Currents stories, subscribe to the Puget Sound Institute eNews.

Themes from the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

A series covering major science themes presented at SSEC16 in Vancouver, BC. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

Stories exploring major research themes presented during the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, BC.  See also complementary reports in SSEC16 snapshots.

Booklet: 2016-17 special report for Puget Sound policymakers (PDF)

About the booklet

Rethinking shoreline armoring

An in-depth series on issues related to shoreline armoring in the Puget Sound region. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Salish Sea Currents presents an in-depth series focusing on shoreline armoring in the Puget Sound region. Close to a third of Puget Sound's shoreline is classified as armored with bulkheads and other structures meant to hold back storm surge and erosion. But new studies reveal the often significant toll this is taking on the environment. To be notified of new Salish Sea Currents stories, subscribe to the Puget Sound Institute eNews.

Themes from the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference

A 10-story series covering major science themes presented at SSEC14 in Seattle, WA. Sponsored by U.S. EPA and the Puget Sound Partnership.

In this first Salish Sea Currents series, we offer 10 stories exploring major research themes presented during the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference.

2014 special report for Puget Sound policymakers (PDF)

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Implementation Strategies

New EPA-funded Implementation Strategies are designed to target Puget Sound recovery in the most direct and coordinated way ever conducted by state and federal agencies. We report on how these strategies will affect Puget Sound’s Vital Signs for years to come, and why you should care (a lot).