One of our collaborators Dan Burgard made news this week for his pilot study quantifying marijuana use in Seattle and Tacoma. Burgard, a chemist at the University of Puget Sound, is analyzing wastewater from sewage treatment plants to identify levels of metabolized THC. The study is designed to determine if new recreational marijuana laws are leading to an increase in marijuana use. It will also look at trends over time, and how the legal trade of marijuana compares with the black market. Burgard is using analytical equipment at the Center for Urban Waters for his study.
Read more in an article today’s Seattle Times.
An albatross catches a herring.Langara Fishing Adventures
Puget Sound Institute lead ecologist Tessa Francis is co-chair of an upcoming summit to examine the human dimensions of Pacific herring fisheries in the Salish Sea. The forum brings together “social and natural scientists, tribes and First Nations, and federal and state managers” to identify new approaches to ecosystem-based management, including the use of traditional ecologic knowledge and social networks.
The summit will be held from June 8-10 in British Columbia. Read more at the Ocean Modeling Forum website.
Related article (UW Today): Ocean Modeling Forum to bring human element to herring fishery, others
Jellyfish surround a floatplane pontoon. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology.
A Seattle Times story features a recent paper in the Marine Ecology Press Series about shifting baselines in the Puget Sound food web. Forty years of data from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reveals a trend toward more jellyfish and less of some forage fish species in the region. High amounts of jellyfish can mean a decline in ecosystem productivity, according to scientists. The original paper was based on some of the same data used by Puget Sound Institute researchers looking at trends for Puget Sound’s Pacific herring populations.
Read the article in the Seattle Times.
Read the original journal article.
The 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference is now accepting proposals for special sessions. This year’s conference theme is “Strengthening Connections around Changing Times,” and the deadline for proposals June 30, 2015.
The conference will be held in Vancouver, B.C. from April 13-15, 2016.
Read more at the conference website.
Book cover for The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest
The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest brings together more than 230 extraordinary images of the Salish Sea. But don’t call it a coffee table book. Its lush photos are backed by a serious scientific perspective on this complex and fragile ecosystem.
Read an interview with the authors in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
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.
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.
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.
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.