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Conserving the Lifeblood of Puget Sound

Article for the Puget Sound Partnership's State of the Sound report by WFC Director of Science and Research, Jamie Glasgow.

State of the SoundAn article by WFC Director of Science and Research, Jamie Glasgow, was part of the Puget Sound Partnership's recently released 2012 State of the Sound report. Conserving the Lifeblood of Puget Sound, We Cannot Restore the Sound Without an Accurate Stream Inventory discusses the importance of rectifying the misclassification of Puget Sound lowland streams, since the impacts of development in these systems, including bank erosion, water quality degradation and habitat loss, will have significant consequences for nearshore marine environments in the Sound.  Puget Sound cannot be saved without a thorough and accurate inventory of the watersheds that feed it. Here's a couple paragraphs from the article:

"...current water typing records and maps often underestimate the actual miles of fish-bearing waters by 50% or more. Wild Fish Conservancy has documented widespread error throughout Puget Sound in designating streams as fish-bearing or non fish-bearing. We have found that a significant number of streams in Puget Sound do not even appear on any maps. Hundreds of miles of productive Puget Sound watersheds are threatened because, when they are misidentified or unidentified on regulatory maps, they are often subjected to inappropriate land-use practices. Many streams are not receiving protection they warrant under already existing regulations.

Unless the watersheds draining into Puget Sound are accurately identified and protected, cumulative effects from the development of these watersheds will continue to contribute to the compromised health of Puget Sound. And until systematic inventories are performed, regulatory maps updated, and streams adequately protected, progress towards a healthy Puget Sound will continue to be significantly offset by the pervasive and in many casesunrecorded loss of freshwater habitat and water quality."

View the entire article here.

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