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 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.

Summary of latest observations

Drought conditions still in effect

In July, the Puget Sound region had some rain, lessening the trend of warm, dry conditions. However, drought conditions are still in effect, and river flows are low.

Phytoplankton brighten the water

The water in southern Hood Canal looks tropical turquoise blue! This is due to abundant coccolithophores, a non-toxic phytoplankton. Their chalky exteriors brighten the color of the water.

Advice for beachgoers

In many areas of the South and Central Sound, we observed extensive rafts of macroalgae called “beach wrack” washed up on shore. These mats of kelp, seagrass, and other macroalgae collect insects and bacteria. Birds and fish like to eat the invertebrates, but close contact with the bacteria might make people sick. While there are benefits to beach wrack, our BEACH team recommends that beachgoers leave it for the animals due to potential human health risks.

What we saw in our flight over Puget Sound

Schools of fish congregate in South Sound and southern Hood Canal. Jellyfish are abundant in Quartermaster Harbor.

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