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Communities working together to protect Puget Sound. Español (Spanish)

ORCA FACTS

Orca whales are large dolphins! Southern resident orcas are known as the Southern Resident killer whales, or the 'J' pod.
  • Along with the transient orca pod, the J pod are the only orcas listed as endangered by the Endangered Species Act.
  • In September 2018, only 75 members of the pod remained- a 30 year low.
  • The bond between mother orcas and calves is very strong, and they show signs of mourning and loss. Orcas have large brains with strong emotional portions and experience trauma when family members pass.
  • In July 2018, a mother carried her dead calf (the first born in the pod in three years) on her back for over two weeks.
  • In spring, summer and fall, the J pod moves around Puget Sound: from the Pacific coast into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Canada, the Salish Sea and the southern Georgia Strait.
  • The J pod is threatened by the loss of Chinook salmon, which is 97% of their diet.
  • Puget Sound orcas are losing food supply due to overfishing and shrinking salmon populations, which are directly impacted by polluted rainwater that travels from our neighborhoods to Puget Sound though storm drains, rivers, and streams, and culverts that block their return to their home streams.
  • Orcas have bioaccumulation of toxic pollution from Puget Sound that is concentrated in their bodies.
  • Orcas are impacted by ships, which disorient them, and sonar from certain ships that can cause hemorrhaging and death.
  • Before the 1960s, the J pod was threatened by hunting, which depleted around half of their population.

FACT: SMALL CHANGES CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE!

Small changes we make to reduce polluting rainwater make a big difference!
  • Fix Car Leaks: www.FixCarLeaks.org
  • Practice Natural Yard Care:
  • Protect your family and the environment by using less toxic products (and dispose of them safely!):
  • Letting the rain soak in:

PHYSICAL/GEOGRAPHY FACTS

  • The Puget Sound coastline lies within 12 Washington State counties; a total of 14 counties are within the entire watershed. (PS Factbook p.21)
  • Puget Sound has 1,332 miles of coastline, not including the San Juan Islands or the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (PS Factbook p.16)

HUMAN DIMENSION FACTS

  • On average, 52,000 – 66,000 pounds of pollutants are released into the Puget Sound ecosystem each day. (PS Factbook, p.35)
  • There are nineteen federally recognized tribes within the Puget Sound region. (PS Factbook. p.21)
  • A one acre area of pavement produces 27,150 gallons of runoff for every one inch of rain. In Seattle, with about 37 inches of rain per year, that equals one million gallons of runoff. (Protecting Washington's waters from stormwater runoff, Ecology, p.3)
  • The economic costs of stormwater pollution in the Puget Sound region are expected to exceed $1 billion over the next ten years. (Protecting Washington's waters from stormwater runoff, Ecology, p.4)
  • The most common pathway for toxic chemicals to reach Puget Sound is through storm drains: rainwater falls on our roofs, yards, and streets and collects pollutants as it flows in storm drains. This rainwater flows directly to local streams and creeks without being treated before it heads to Puget Sound. (Puget Sound Toxics Assessment Fact Sheet, p.4)
  • One third of all of the copper in Puget Sound comes from pesticides and fertilizers that contain copper. Copper makes it hard for salmon to avoid predators and to find their way back to their spawning streams. (Puget Sound Toxics Assessment Fact Sheet, p.2, 5)
  • As one of the leading producers in the country, Washington State’s shellfish industry brings in over $100 million in sales every year. Over the last 40 years, polluted waters have caused 30% of Puget Sound’s shellfish growing areas to close. (Original source: Stormwater Runoff Pollution and how to Reduce it, King County.)
  • 86% of Puget Sound residents think that restoring Puget Sound is a good use of tax dollars. (PS Factbook, p.26)

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT/WILDLIFE FACTS

 

What is Puget Sound?

  • Puget Sound is a deep estuary – where saltwater and freshwater merge.
  • Puget Sound is also a huge region, stretching from the Cascade Mountains in the east to the Olympic Mountains in the west and from the Canadian border in the north to Mount Rainier in the south.
  • This region is made up of our local rivers and streams that flow through the region and eventually drain into Puget Sound, as well as the land that drains into these local bodies of water.
  • But, if you live here, you know that Puget Sound is more than water. It’s a diverse landscape filled with cities, suburbs, and agricultural areas. It’s a thriving economic area.
  • The land and water of Puget Sound are intrinsically connected. We rely on Puget Sound for healthy food, recreational opportunities, as well as a large part of our state’s economy. In turn, the health of Puget Sound and the creatures that rely on it are directly impacted by what happens on the land all around them.
  • The Puget Sound region covers 1.6 million acres (2,500 square miles) across 12 counties and is the place that approximately 4.3 million people call home.

RESOURCES


 

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This website was last modified on 5.2.2019.1143