Tidal forests offer hope for salmon – Puget Sound Institute

Wonderful short article that highlights a goal we can (and actually are in many places) work towards, which is estuary restoration. Small fish hang out in these places. There are just these kind of places on the Dungeness and other rivers here on the Peninsula. Not so much on the Elwha. Give it a read.



Northwest Watershed Institute study suggests reason behind eagle gathering at Dabob Bay – PDN

The Peninsula Daily News has a story about a new research paper created by Peter Bahls of the Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI).  Bahls and biologist Heather Gordon wrote the paper, “Bald Eagles, Oyster Beds, and the Plainfin Midshipman: Ecological Relationships in Dabob Bay,” which explores the relationship of eagles, oyster beds and a kind of forage fish called the Plainfin Midshipman. Read this fascinating story about what new research by the NWI has shown about the relationships, and how the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe are working with the data to better protect the eagles and the spawning fish.




Research submarine arrives at Friday Harbor – San Juan Journal

More research will be done on the effects of trawling (a bit late to save places like Discovery Bay, which was trawled in the 70s). Also red sea urchins and sand lance, a food source for salmon and other larger fish.

Often called Earth’s final frontier, the darkest depths of the ocean contain mysterious creatures and otherworldly habitats researchers have only begun to discover thanks to evolving submarine technology. For the first time, one such submarine will be arriving in the San Juans…. The submarine arrived Sept. 8 at the labs and assisted with three local studies: one regarding red sea urchins, another focusing on the effects of trawling (a method of fishing and researching that scrapes the seafloor) and the third will take a look at sand lance. Heather Spaulding reports. (San Juan Journal)

Research submarine arrives at Friday Harbor


New Puget Sound herring research – Puget Sound Institute

A good article to help you with understanding the role of forage fish in our Puget Sound environment. While I have your interest in this, as the Board President of Sound Action, I would be remiss in not mentioning that our little non-profit exists to monitor the granting of Hydraulic permits (HPA) by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. (WDFW). We challenge them if necessary. Each year we review more than 500 permits and file dozens of appeals, with most having a positive resolution. You can find more on our work at http://www.soundaction.org. But now for the rest of the story.

Herring may not be the most charismatic species in Puget Sound. They don’t breach dramatically out of the water. Fish mongers don’t throw them through the air at Pike Place Market. They find their strength in numbers, schooling around by the thousands and serving as food for other creatures like seabirds, salmon and seals. But if it weren’t for these small, unsung fish, the Salish Sea might be a very different place. Herring and other so-called forage fish — named for their role as important food (forage) for other species — are foundational to the Salish Sea food web. They are so critical that the Puget Sound Partnership has identified them as a ‘Vital Sign’ for the health of the ecosystem. And that is why many scientists are worried. Some populations of Puget Sound herring are in dangerous decline. There are also major gaps in our knowledge of their ecology and life history. (Puget Sound Institute)


Forage fish indicate ecosystem changes that impact orcas – King 5

Good short overview on forage fish, the key indicator species for salmon and our resident orcas. Highlights the work being done at the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Protecting the forage fish habitat is what Sound Action is involved in when they review Hydraulic Permits at the state level.

The decline of Southern Resident Killer Whales gets a lot of attention, and it’s mostly blamed on the disappearance of their favorite food: Chinook salmon.

And one group of scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking past Chinook at smaller fish that are often overlooked by headlines.

“Chinook salmon, orca, seals, birds – all of these species depend on forage fish,” Dayv Lowry said. “When they start to decline, and we start to see these indicators of poor health, now everybody really worries about them especially because so many other species rely on them.”



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