The Seattle Times has a recent article on the resurgence of fauna in Puget Sound. The focus is on Possession Sound – between Everett and Whidbey Island, but the same would be true for all the waters that make up the Salish Sea (the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia; the shared Strait of Juan De Fuca; Puget Sound; and adjacent waterways).
From phytoplankton and ghost shrimp, up to gray whales and transient killer whales; life can be seen in our local waters – sometimes surprisingly close in the case of the gray whales, as the article notes. A sighting of a whale or other large mammal is cause for excitement. While I’ve not seen a whale south of the Narrows Bridge, I have seen harbor porpoises and sea lions; sea lions in particular appear frequently off the beaches where I fish for cutthroat trout. And looking down into the waters around my feet at this time of year, I can see chum fry swimming past or be lucky to see coho smolt as they jump – both salmon species beginning their long multi-year journey out into the Pacific Ocean.
It’s not all good news, as the article notes: the Southern pods of killer whales and Chinook salmon remain at grave risk and both struggle to survive. (Transient killer whales feed on mammals; resident killer whales feed on salmon).
But the life we see reflects the result of the actions taken in the past by Congress: the Clean Water Act (1972), the Endangered Species Act (1973), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1973). The waters of Puget Sound are much better today than they were because of those Acts of Congress; never let anyone tell you – or believe – that government action is not needed to protect the climate and our natural lands.
And in the end, it may not matter if you live on Puget Sound. Wherever you live there are animals and waters worthy of, and needing, protection.
You can read the article here.