Sea Change

A diver next to the Seattle waterfront sea wall.

Seattle is reimagining and creating a living urban waterfront — building a healthy future for the city’s people, wildlife, culture and economy. The UW has been part of the project from the start. Seattle’s waterfront renewal is one of the region’s most ambitious and innovative undertakings since the Seattle World’s Fair transformed the city in 1962. Finally reconnecting Seattle’s waterfront to its downtown, this $750 million renovation and restoration will create a network of public parks, cultural celebration spaces and an expanded aquarium — while building a sophisticated, seismically sound, salmon-friendly new seawall. 

Read more »

New study: 2021 heat wave created ‘perfect storm’ for shellfish die-off

Dead oysters seen along a shoreline in Washington state, following a record heat wave in summer 2021.

It’s hard to forget the excruciating heat that blanketed the Pacific Northwest in late June 2021. Temperatures in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia soared to well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with Seattle setting an all-time heat record of 108 degrees on June 28. During the heat wave, also called a heat dome, scientists and community members alike noticed a disturbing uptick of dying and dead shellfish on some beaches in Washington and British Columbia, both in the Salish Sea and along the outer coast. 

Read more at UW News »

New story map unites sea gardens around the Pacific and shows the importance of revitalizing Indigenous mariculture practices for food sovereignty and resilience

Indigenous people have been stewarding the ocean for thousands of years. This stewardship has appeared in many different forms around the world, all of which represent a reciprocal relationship between humans and the sea rooted in deep, place-based knowledge. From octopus houses in Haida Gwaii to fish ponds in Hawai’i, an Indigenous mariculture renaissance is making waves as groups across the Pacific seek to revitalize these ancient techniques and traditions. 

Read more at Washington Sea Grant »

eDNA a useful tool for early detection of invasive green crab

Ryan Kelly, left, and Abigail Keller collect water samples in Drayton Harbor, Washington, in 2020.

European green crabs feast on shellfish, destroy marsh habitats by burrowing in the mud and obliterate valuable seagrass beds. The invasive species also reproduces quickly, making it a nightmare for wildlife managers seeking to control its spread in Washington’s marine waters. Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency order in response to more than 70,000 crabs caught on Lummi Nation land as well as dramatic increases in crab populations on Washington’s outer coast and other locations in Puget Sound in recent years. 

Read more at UW News »