Science Panel speaker series continues April 23rd

The Puget Sound Science Panel speaker series continues April 23rd at the University of Washington Tacoma campus. Wayne Landis addresses “Wicked problems, black swans and managing the future of Puget Sound,” while Katharine Wellman looks at shellfish aquaculture.

Where: UW Tacoma, Dugan 201

When: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Download the presentation flyer for more information.


Connecting art and sound at the Henry Art Gallery

Jeff Rice recording sounds at dawn.

Jeff Rice recording sounds at dawn. Photo courtesy of L.A. Times.

This Saturday at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle: Puget Sound Institute managing editor Jeff Rice examines the commonalities between wildlife sound recording and art.

Rice will be playing and describing species recordings and relating them to concepts explored in Ann Hamilton’s exhibit the common S E N S E, such as extinction and sound as a form of touch.

The lecture is part of the Henry gallery’s ArtBreaks series, which features “gallery experiences led by guest artists, scholars, and community members.”

April 11, 2015, 2:30 PM — 3:00 PM

Read more.


Identifying the greatest threats to Puget Sound

Stressors with Very High or High Potential Impact in Puget Sound

Stressors with Very High or High Potential Impact in Puget Sound

In the early days of Puget Sound conservation, it seemed like the polluters were easier to spot. There were the usual suspects—industrial pipes pumped toxic chemicals into the water; dams blocked the way for salmon; natural resources were over-harvested. Those problems still persist, but ecosystem management has become increasingly complicated since the 1970s and 1980s.

Scientists now recognize that what happens on the land is intricately tied to the health of the water. We face climate change and unprecedented population growth, and scientists have identified thousands of different human-caused pressures on the ecosystem. The headlines include new threats like stormwater, emerging contaminants and widespread declines in species and habitats. Given limited resources, how can managers and policymakers make informed decisions about where to focus their recovery efforts?

That was one of the questions behind the 2014 Puget Sound Pressures Assessment. The document, prepared by scientists in cooperation with the Puget Sound Science Panel, identified and ranked some of the greatest threats to the ecosystem. It is expected to provide a blueprint for future recovery efforts, and University of Washington Puget Sound Institute researcher Nick Georgiadis has written a non-technical summary for scientists and policymakers.

The report is now available in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.



EPA announces new funding framework for Puget Sound

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today a new model for distributing National Estuary Program funds for Puget Sound recovery. The framework is effective in 2016 and is driven by the Puget Sound Action Agenda, while emphasizing habitats, shellfish and stormwater. Funds from the program totaled $117 million dollars from 2009-2015.

According to EPA, the framework will strengthen the role of the Puget Sound Partnership as “the Backbone Organization for [Puget Sound] Recovery,” and gives a greater voice to Puget Sound area tribes with more consideration of Treaty Rights at Risk in funding allocations.

Read a press release from the Puget Sound Partnership.


In the news: Cleaning a lake with sludge

We’ve all heard of cleaning up environmental waste, but can waste be used to clean up the environment? A research team led by PSI’s Andy James is using waste product to remove phosphorus from stormwater entering Wapato Lake in south Tacoma. A group of students in collaboration with James and UWT professor Jim Gawell has been collecting “sludge” from wastewater treatment plants around the region with promising results. Read the full article from UWT News and Information.


Could healthier, happier humans lead to a healthier Puget Sound?

Walking on the rocks along the Sound. Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle, WA. Photo: cleverdame107 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Walking on the rocks along the Sound. Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle, WA. Photo: cleverdame107 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For the past two years, Puget Sound Institute Lead Social Scientist Kelly Biedenweg has been working with the Puget Sound Partnership to identify and recommend what are termed “human wellbeing indicators.” These indicators will be adopted by the agency as part of its Human Quality of Life Vital Sign, and Biedenweg, along with Kari Stiles of the Puget Sound Partnership, and Katharine Wellman of Northern Economics presented a final report to the Leadership Council last month.

Continue reading


UW scientist studies how pharmaceuticals impact the environment

University of Washington scientist Edward Kolidziej

University of Washington scientist Edward Kolodziej

Dr. Ed Kolodziej is one of the newest collaborators with the Puget Sound Institute. Kolodziej began his appointment at the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering last fall, with a joint appointment at Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at UW Tacoma. His research looks at some of the ways that organic compounds like steroids and other pharmaceuticals persist in the environment. Known as contaminants of emerging concern (CEC), these compounds are flushed into Puget Sound and other natural systems every day.​

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The watershed: winter bat recordings


Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus). Photo: Angell Williams (CC BY 2.0)

Bats are thought of as warm weather creatures, but recent studies have shown that they can be active throughout the winter. Here in the Puget Sound region, bat echolocations have been recorded in temperatures in the low teens, and are commonly heard during more mild conditions. Continue reading


Encyclopedia of Puget Sound topic editor Amy Snover recognized as White House Champion of Change

Encyclopedia of Puget Sound climate change topic editor Amy Snover has been honored as a White House Champion of Change for her work in climate change education and literacy. Snover is the Director of the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and is Assistant Dean for Applied Research in the University of Washington’s College of the Environment. “Magic happens when we connect the analytic and predictive skills of science with the practical needs and multiple objectives of real-world decision-making,” Snover said in an announcement last week. “We create knowledge that is useful and used, and build essential societal capacity for tackling the challenges that face us.” Snover received her award at a White House ceremony on February 9th.