Puget Sound boundaries

There are several ways that scientists and managers have defined the boundaries of Puget Sound. To oceanographers, Puget Sound includes the waters from Admiralty Inlet and Deception Pass to the southern tip of Olympia. However, many management and conservation efforts incorporate the entire watershed—the land where rivers and streams drain into Puget Sound—as well as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hood Canal and the San Juan Archipelago. 

Source: Puget Sound Fact Book

Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIA). Map: Kris Symer. Data source: WAECY.

OVERVIEW

Geographic boundaries of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea

The boundaries of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea are not always consistently defined by scientists and government agencies. This article clarifies the distinctions between oceanographic and watershed-based definitions of these geographic areas. 

RELATED ARTICLES

Map image of Puget Sound and surroundings. Courtesy of USGS.
2/6/2017

Puget Sound's physical environment

The Puget Sound ecosystem is shaped by its physical environment. This article looks at Puget Sound's geologic history as well as dynamic factors such as the flow of its rivers and currents.

The Puget Sound Model at the UW School of Oceanography
3/19/2014

The Puget Sound Model summary

The Puget Sound Model was designed and built in the early 1950s at the University of Washington School of Oceanography as a research and teaching tool for understanding Puget Sound circulation patterns. The following text was written by Puget Sound Model co-creator John H. Lincoln (1915-2001) and is provided courtesy of the University of Washington School of Oceanography. 

Puget Sound drainage area. Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Ecology.
2/3/2014

Puget Sound Watershed Characterization Project

This project is a coarse-scale, systematic characterization of different areas within the Puget Sound watershed, aimed at providing a framework for land use discussions.

Salish Sea map my Norm Maher. Courtesy of the SeaDoc Society.
4/2/2013

The Salish Sea

The Salish Sea extends across the U.S.-Canada border, and includes the combined waters of the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound Basin and the San Juan Islands (see map).

The name Salish Sea was proposed by Bert Webber in 1989 to reflect the entire cross-border ecosystem. Both Washington State and British Columbia voted to officially recognize the name in late 2009. The name honors the Coast Salish people, who were the first to live in the region.

11/26/2012

Puget Sound watershed hydrologic units

There are many ways of defining the boundaries of the Puget Sound watershed. Hydrologic unit codes (HUCs) are nationally standardized divisions that are often used by conservation agencies and national organizations.

WRIA boundaries in Puget Sound area
5/11/2012

Water Resource Inventory Areas in Puget Sound

The Washington State Department of Ecology and other state natural resources agencies have divided the Washington into 62 "Water Resource Inventory Areas" or "WRIAs" to delineate the state's major watersheds.