Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ocean Acidification - a plan and a call for action

Governor Gregoire left another legacy for Washington today when she signed an executive order calling for action on ocean acidification. The order acts on the recommendations of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification who released their final scientific report and recommended actions this morning. 

One of the most visible impacts of ocean acidification is the corrosive effects on shellfish. In Washington, shellfish growers have seen these impacts firsthand, witnessing the die off of juvenile oysters because their shells could not form properly in increasingly acidic waters.

The Blue Ribbon Panel recommends 42 actions to address ocean acidification, including efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, to minimize sources of local land-based pollution, including storm water, to invest more in research and monitoring, and to increase public awareness.

Washington State has fast become a national leader on responding to ocean acidification.  Learn more about State efforts.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Swimming Beaches in Puget Sound get a failing grade

In 2011, one quarter of the beaches monitored around Puget Sound were found to be unsafe for swimming because they failed to meet water quality standards. Since monitoring water quality at popular recreation beaches began in 2004, the number of unsafe beaches has increased by 12 percent.

The Puget Sound Partnership just released their 2012 State of the Sound report. In the report, swimming Beaches is just one of many indicators that suggests Puget Sound is imperiled and not improving. However, the report is not all bad news - over one thousand shellfish beds have been reopened to harvest and over two thousand acres of habitat have been restored. For more details, read the press release.