Puget Sound’s ports are expected to grow rapidly in coming years, on pace with the region’s urban areas. More ships on the water could mean more accidents. Some management efforts can lessen the risk of a spill in Puget Sound. Lower speed limits for ships, more onboard monitoring, rescue tugs and double hull fuel tank protection are some of the options being proposed. But no efforts can eliminate the risk of all accidents.
This 2017 guide from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provides information for volunteers in the event of an oil spill in Puget Sound. It was produced by the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute with support from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Scientists are still trying to understand what caused the deaths of thousands of rhinoceros auklets in the Salish Sea in 2016. Some studies point to disease as a central factor in that incident and potentially other large seabird die-offs along the coast. That is prompting a deeper look at what makes these birds sick, and how local populations are faring. We followed a group of researchers as they gave a health checkup to a breeding colony of rhinoceros auklets on Protection Island.
The Toxics in Fish Implementation Strategy is a recovery plan that will be used to guide funding and activities to reduce the impacts of toxics contaminants on marine fish and the humans that consume them. The plan is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Bills in the state legislature target oil spill threats to Puget Sound and its endangered killer whales.
An EPA-funded study of oil spill risks in Puget Sound forms the basis of new legislation to regulate vessel traffic in the region. We break down some of the numbers from the study and look at where the risks may be greatest.
Pacific herring exposed to stormwater in Puget Sound show some of the same effects as fish exposed to major oil spills. Symptoms include heart and developmental problems.
A 2017 report from the University of Washington summarizes current scientific knowledge on chemical oil spill dispersants and their potential impacts on shoreline habitats in San Juan County, Washington.
Evaluating threats in multinational marine ecosystems: A Coast Salish first nations and tribal perspective
A 2015 paper in the journal PLoS ONE identifies ongoing and proposed energy-related development projects that will increase marine vessel traffic in the Salish Sea. It evaluates the threats each project poses to natural resources important to Coast Salish first nations and tribes.