A new publication called “Puget Sound Fact Book” has been released online by the Puget Sound Institute, an affiliation of the University of Washington, Environmental Protection Agency and Puget Sound Partnership.
Like its name suggests, the fact book contains detailed information about Puget Sound — from the geology that created the waterway to creatures that roam through the region, including humans. The fact book has been incorporated into the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
Working for the Puget Sound Institute, I became part of a team of about 25 researchers and writers who compiled the facts and produced essays about various aspects of Puget Sound. I wrote an introductory piece titled “Overview: Puget Sound as an Estuary” and a conclusion called “A healthy ecosystem supports human values.”
One can download a copy of the fact book from the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound webpage.
Just for fun, I thought I would offer a multiple-choice quiz from the book. Answers and scoring are at the bottom.
1. Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast covers about four
times the area of Puget Sound. The total volume of water in
Chesapeake Bay is roughly how much compared to Puget
A. Twice the volume of Puget Sound
B. Equal to the volume of Puget Sound
C. Half the volume of Puget Sound
D. One-fourth the volume of Puget Sound
2. Puget Sound was named by Capt. George Vancouver,
honoring one of his officers, Lt. Peter Puget. Where was the
northernmost boundary of the original Puget Sound?
A. The Canadian border
B. The northern edge of Admiralty Inlet near present-day Port Townsend
C. The southern edge Whidbey Island
D. The Tacoma Narrows
3. How deep is the deepest part of Puget
A. 86 meters = 282 feet
B. 186 meters = 610 feet
C. 286 meters = 938 feet
D. 386 meters – 1,266 feet
4. Washington State Department of Health has classified
190,000 acres of tidelands in Puget Sound as shellfish growing
areas. How much of that area is classified as “prohibited,” meaning
shellfish can never be harvested there without a change in
A. 36,000 acres
B. 52,000 acres
C. 84,000 acres
D. 110,0000 acres
5. In the late 1800s, experts estimate that Puget Sound
contained 166 square kilometers (64 square miles) of mud flats.
Development has reduced that total to how much today?
A. 79 square kilometers = 30 square miles
B. 95 square kilometers = 36 square miles
C. 126 square kilometers = 49 square miles
D. 151 square kilometers – 58 square miles
6. How many bird species depend on the Salish Sea,
according to a 2011 study?
7. Resident killer whales eat mainly chinook salmon.
What do transient killer whales mainly eat?
A. Pink salmon
B. Marine mammals
8. Most fish populations in Puget Sound have been on the
decline over the past 40 years. What type of marine creature has
increased its numbers 9 times since 1975?
A. Rock crabs
D. Dogfish sharks
9. Rockfish are among the longest-lived fish in Puget
Sound. How many species of rockfish can be found in Puget
10. Puget Sound’s giant Pacific octopus is the largest
octopus in the world. The record size has been reported at what
A. 200 pounds
B. 400 pounds
C. 500 pounds
D. 600 pounds
1. C. Chesapeake Bay contains about half the volume of Puget Sound, some 18 cubic miles compared to 40 cubic miles.
2. D. Tacoma Narrows.
3. C. The deepest spot in Puget Sound — offshore of Point Jefferson near Kingston — is 286 m, although one spot in the larger Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) reaches a depth of 650 m. or 2,132 feet.
4. A. 36,000 acres are prohibited shellfish beds
5. C. Total mudflats today total 126 square kilometers
6. D. 172 bird species
7. B. Transients eat marine mammals.
8. B. Jellyfish
9. C. 28
10. D. 600 pounds is said to be the record, although more typical weights are 50 to 100 pounds.
Most of these questions are pretty tough. If you got five right, I would say you know Puget Sound pretty well. Six or seven right suggests you have special knowledge about the waterway. More than seven correct answers means you could have helped compile the facts for this new book.