Eyes Over Puget Sound; Sunny, warm, and colorful

Late summer brings warm air temperatures, abundant sunshine and drier conditions throughout Puget Sound. Stream flows in the region’s northern rivers are lower than the rivers in South Puget Sound.

Front cover of Eyes Over Puget Sound's Surface Conditions Report shows part of an airplane wing flying over the sound.

Yet, the combination of abundant spring rain and weak upwelling from the Pacific Ocean means Puget Sound waters are still fresher than at any time in the past 17 years.

While the abundance of jellyfish is lower this year, warm water temperatures, especially in central Puget Sound, are accompanied by large rafts of drifting macroalgae. What else did we see on our Eyes Over Puget Sound overflight? Diverse blooms in colors of green, orange and red-brown in many inlets.

We are also checking to see how if the benthic invertebrate community is changing. We are monitoring and measuring samples of these critters that live in the sediments of Puget Sound at our long-term monitoring stations. We’re gathering information so we have baselines to see if any long-term change is occurring among this sensitive part of the Puget Sound ecosystem.
This year, we’re getting great hands-on assistance from our Washington Conservation Corps intern, Nicole Marks. To see more about the project, check out the great poster Nicole has created.