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Eyes over Puget Sound

Once a month, we take to the air and travel by boat to obtain high-resolution aerial photo observations and gather water data at our monitoring stations and via state ferry transects. This provides us a visual picture of the health of Puget Sound, which we call Eyes Over Puget Sound or EOPS.

Eyes Over Puget Sound empowers you to:

  • See what is currently happening in Puget Sound.
  • See how weather and climate are shaping Puget Sound water quality.
  • Use Eyes Over Puget Sound as free educational material for your own endeavors.

Download a copy of the latest Eyes Over Puget Sound.

Latest observations

Large-scale influences on Puget Sound, climate, and streams

  • It's summer! Air temperatures have been above normal while precipitation has been well below normal in July.
  • With mountain snowpack mostly gone, these conditions have resulted in river flows that are generally below normal levels.
  • Nearly all stream gages are reporting normal or below-normal flows.

Technology as a tool to explore habitat  

  • We tested an infrared camera on the flight, resulting in images of temperature patterns that the eye can’t see.
  • We documented surface water temperatures above 15° Celsius.
  • These warmer waters increase the risk of harmful algal blooms if toxin-producing species are present.
  • River deltas, tidal eddies, and ship wakes all reveal interesting temperature patterns.

 What we saw on our flight over Puget Sound

  • Algae blooms are causing intense red-brown colors in Bellingham and Samish Bays, as well as in East Sound, Marrowstone Island, Liberty Bay, and finger inlets in South Sound.
  • Macroalgae is drifting as mats on the water in South Sound and Central Sound, particularly in Carr Inlet, Commencement Bay, and Port Madison.

Also in this edition

  • Our Washington Conservation Corps intern shares her perspectives on Puget Sound.

How do we do it?

Our marine scientists fly and boat to 37 remote marine monitoring stations once a month. Join us as Eyes Over Puget Sound takes you into the air with photos, commentary, and water quality data.

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All editions of Eyes Over Puget Sound are available through the Marine Waters publication index.