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Life Disappearing Quickly From Puget Sound - Birds, Crabs, Fish, More - PI

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:29 PM
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Life Disappearing Quickly From Puget Sound - Birds, Crabs, Fish, More - PI
EDIT

"The shallows of Puget Sound are mostly dead," asserts Lang, who has been diving here since 1988. "Something's drastically changed in the last two years." Lang's story and similar anecdotes match the findings of scientists who study the Sound. Their conclusion: Marine life is disappearing, and fast. Seabird populations are plummeting. The state's largest seabird-nesting colony last year saw a catastrophic failure. In the south Sound -- years after fishing was cut way back for Pacific cod, whiting and walleye pollock -- populations are still in critical condition.

Salmon stocks stand at perhaps 10 percent of their historic abundance, and individual fish are much smaller. The orcas that eat those salmon are the highest predator trying to eke out a living in Puget Sound. The federal government last year awarded local orcas the strongest protection available for species slipping toward extinction. Later this year, federal scientists will announce which areas of the Sound must be preserved to keep the population afloat. Whale lovers wonder if the effort will be enough. The orcas are victims of decades of politicians' broken promises, industries' resistance to stricter regulations and -- perhaps most damagingly -- the inability to convince residents to live and work more gently on the shores of the Sound. It all has resulted in a failure to turn the environmental tide in favor of the salmon on which the orcas depend -- much less launch the broad-based rescue of Washington's unique inland sea that scientists say is necessary to prevent the loss of species.

Recent studies show that Puget Sound's herring -- a key link in the food chain -- contain higher contamination levels than those in Europe's highly polluted Baltic Sea. In May, leading federal and state scientists reported that the "food web of Puget Sound appears to be more seriously contaminated than previously anticipated." And orcas now are among the more chemically contaminated marine mammals in the world's oceans.

What's causing the disappearance of the eelgrass and crabs, the birds and fish? Hard to say. Research "has not been as robust or as consistent as it should be," said Tracy Collier, manager of the National Marine Fisheries Service's ecotoxicology program in Seattle. "Saying why things are happening is difficult because we haven't been spending enough time and effort on it." For example, systematic state eelgrass surveys were started just five years ago. They cover just 3 percent of the shoreline and one-fifth of the bays where eelgrass might be found.

EDIT

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/specials/brokenpromises/2...
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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:31 PM
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1. Recommended/nt
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:36 PM
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2. This is sooo sad. My son and his family lived there for several
years. We visited them twice. There's no more beautifel place I've ever been! To hear about this place being destroyed is terrible!
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ClayZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:25 PM
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3. We took our grandkids to the beach
at Mukilteo State Park several times this summer, and had to step over dead jellyfish every 3 steps.
So much for treasure hunting.

:cry:
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:33 PM
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4. Can we say "tipping point", kiddies??
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:41 PM
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5. As much as I like DU, there are too many depressing posts like this.
Necessary, but depressing.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
6. Unless the State of Washington gets serious
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 04:32 PM by depakid
about controlling destructive develpment- and STOPS issuing permits- this is going to continue to get worse.

More septic tanks- and greater usage from larger houses way too close to the watetr- where there once were cabins- is largely responsible for the decline in Hood Canal.

Unfortunately, Washington isn't known either for its foresight- or for its patterns of promoting responsible development. What a waste.

I don't see this turning around- at least not in my lifetime, though I applaud Gregoire for her (half hearted) efforts.
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fed-up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:05 PM
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7. kicking for the evening crowd-thanks hatrack for all your posts n/t
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