EarthFix Conversations: so, how’s Puget Sound? (audio)

A new report brings together data collected from all around the Sound in 2011. It’s got information on river inputs, seawater temperature, salinity, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, ocean acidification, phytoplankton, biotoxins, bacteria, pathogens, shellfish…. Whew…

EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn turned to Stephanie Moore. She’s a biological oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the lead editor of the report.



EarthFix: How about pH? Let’s talk about the acidity of Puget Sound. The report says the waters of Puget Sound can be corrosive in some parts. Tell me more about that finding.

Stephanie Moore: Another of the authors of the report has conducted a sound-wide survey of the pH levels throughout Puget Sound and what they found was that the levels that are in Hood Canal are actually quite low and can be corrosive. This is definitely an area of concern and it warrants further surveys of Puget Sound to keep track of this and this is a finding that will be discussed in much more detail with the release of the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel for ocean acidification in the next month or so.

EarthFix: There have been some correlations between acidity and dissolved oxygen levels in water. Can you tell me a little bit more about what we know about the oxygen levels in Puget Sound?

Stephanie Moore: So there are a few areas in Puget Sound that have been found to have lower dissolved oxygen compared to other areas and these are problem areas that some of the authors of the report are monitoring very intensely. In particular South Puget Sound and Hood Canal experienced problems with dissolved oxygen. Listeners will remember the fish kills that have occurred in the past in Hood Canal. So we also do see this link in Hood Canal with lower pHs associated with lower dissolved oxygen and it’s all a linked system and it definitely warrants some investigation.

EarthFix Conversation, OPB, 6 September 2012. Audio.


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