Puget Sound Report Shows Few Recovery Indicators Meeting Targets; Salmon, Orca Abundance Least Progress

Puget Sound is not doing well, says the 2021 State of the Sound Report issued by the Puget Sound Partnership.

After more than 10 years of reporting indicators and comparing them to ecosystem recovery targets for 2020, the PSP says patterns emerge:

— Few indicators reached their 2020 ecosystem recovery targets, signaling that ecosystem conditions are not good enough to say the system is resilient or recovered.

— We see the most progress for the habitat goal. Success arises in areas where decision-makers and land managers have direct influence on habitat outcomes, for example, restoring estuaries and floodplains or preventing conversion of  ecologically sensitive lands. Many indicators in the habitat goal measure restoration and land conversion. Where our recovery community is involved, we see progress.

— We see the least progress in indicators affected by multiple factors (such as salmon and orca population abundance) and large-scale forces, such as climate change (which affects marine water quality), and where we rely on decisions made nationally or even globally to create positive change.

— Taken all together, indicators send mixed signals about the health of Puget Sound.

— About half of indicators are either not improving or getting worse.

— Many indicators are not trending in any direction.

— Some indicators show mixed results as conditions may be better or worse, depending on location.

— Most Puget Sound Vital Signs are changing slowly at best.

“Puget Sound needs us to redouble our efforts to protect and restore habitat, clean up the water, cool our rivers and streams, and ensure there is local food to harvest. If we don’t, we risk losing our salmon and orca as the climate warms and our population inexorably grows. With their loss, we humans lose something of ourselves, too,” said Laura Blackmore, Executive Director of PSP.

Also see:

— CBB, Nov. 20, 2015, REPORT SYNTHESIZES RELEVANT RESEARCH ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND FUTURE OF PUGET SOUND https://cbbulletin.com/report-synthesizes-relevant-research-on-climate-change-and-future-of-puget-sound/

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