Citing pollution problems in Puget Sound, an environmental group
is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke Washington
state’s authority to enforce the federal Clean Water Act.
Environmental Advocates, based in Portland, says a review of
103 discharge permits issued by the Washington Department of
Ecology shows a failure to control nitrogen pollution. Excess
nitrogen reduces oxygen levels in the water and triggers algae
blooms, resulting in serious problems in Puget Sound, according to
petition submitted to the EPA.
“Ecology determined that over 80 percent of the human sources of
nitrogen in Puget Sound comes from cities and towns, but it
continues to issue discharge permits as if it were completely
ignorant of these facts,” Nina Bell, the group’s executive
director, said in a
“It’s just flat out illegal to issue permits that contribute to
harmful pollution levels,” she added. “These permits are the
walking dead, existing merely to create the impression that the
state is doing its job to control water pollution when it is
With invasive green crabs entering Puget Sound from the north
and invasive mussels discovered in Montana to the east, the
Legislature will be called on to make some critical funding
decisions to ward off potential invaders.
Green crabs and freshwater zebra and quagga mussels are not the
only aquatic invasive species of concern. As I described in a story
published in the Encyclopedia
of Puget Sound, state officials worry about the potential
import of all sorts of harmful species via ballast water and the
hulls of vessels.
To fully address the threats through prevention and enforcement,
the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that $5.2
million per year is needed. That would move Washington ahead of
Oregon and Idaho in addressing the problems. Each of those states
spent about $1.3 million in 2014, while California spent about
$10.7 million. Washington’s current budget for dealing with aquatic
invasive species is one of the lowest in the country at $900,000 a
Increases in the program would be phased in over six years,
increasing from $900,000 a year in the current budget to $2.3
million in the next biennium, according to a proposal to be
submitted to the Legislature. It would go to $4.7 million five
years from now.
With some luck, southern Hood Canal may avoid a major fish kill
this year, as we observe extremely low oxygen levels beginning to
It looks like the fish around Hoodsport dodged a bullet on
Friday when south winds pushed the surface layer of oxygenated
water to the north, bringing hypoxic waters up from below,
according to data from the Ocean
Remote Chemical Analyzer (ORCA) buoy near Hoodsport.
University of Washington researchers watching the conditions
issued this alert
on Friday: “Hypoxic waters have been observed intermittently at the
surface at our Hoodsport mooring — in addition to the Twanoh
mooring —consistent with the strong southerly winds and upwelling
conditions we’ve been seeing over the past few days.”
Seth Book, who monitors the water conditions for the Skokomish
Tribe, said he was on vacation last week and did not make his usual
rounds to observe potential fish kills. But we have not heard of
any reports of dead or dying marine life along the shores of Hood
The risk of a fish kill is still present, and another strong
wind out of the south has the potential to bring more low-oxygen
water to the surface. The layers of water and the timing appear
similar to last year, when south winds brought deep-water fish —
such as ratfish — to the surface, as Seth recorded in a video. See
Water Ways, Sept. 1, 2015.
Each summer, sunny weather brings a growth of phytoplankton that
eventually dies, sinks to the bottom and decays, a process that
consumes oxygen. The result is extremely low levels of oxygen near
the bottom of Hood Canal, a situation that continues until a surge
of seawater in late summer or fall pushes in from the Pacific
Because of its higher salinity, that seawater comes in along the
bottom and pushes up the low-oxygen water, which gets sandwiched
between the ocean water and the more oxygenated water near the
surface. If the surface layer gets displaced suddenly by the wind,
the fish have no place to go to get oxygen. That appeared to be the
condition on Friday, but now the middle layer is growing thinner as
it mixes with the layers above and below.
Conditions are improving, Seth confirmed, “but the negative side
of me still says we have low D.O.” Crabs, shrimp and deep-water
fish may be out of the woods for this year, thanks to higher levels
of oxygen in the incoming seawater, but mid-level fish are still at
risk until the water column equalizes to a greater extent.
In July, areas farther north in Hood Canal, such as Dabob Bay,
experienced low-oxygen conditions, which drove a variety of fish to
the surface, Seth told me. Of particular interest were thousands of
Pacific herring trying to breathe by staying in the upper foot of
water along the shore.
“We have dodged something so far this year,” Seth said. “I am
hopeful because we are now into September and we can see this
From space, Hood Canal is easily recognized by its new shade of
bimini green, a color that stands out clearly from the rest of
Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, as shown in the photo above.
The color is caused by a large bloom of coccolithophore, a
single-celled phytoplankton bearing a shell made of white calcium
Teri King of Washington Sea Grant spotted the unusual color more
than a week ago from the ground while driving along Hood Canal.
“I thought to myself, ‘Am I dreaming of the Cayman Islands?’”
she reported on her
Facebook page. “I pulled over to the side and took a few photos
to document my observations. I then had an opportunity to grab a
water sample. Yep, a Coccolithophore bloom from Quilcene to
“It is hard to miss a bloom of this color,” Teri continued on
Facebook. “We don’t see them often, but when we do it is
remarkable. The water takes on a tropical blue green appearance
with white speckles.”
The photo from space (top) was taken last Sunday from NASA’s
Aqua satellite with equipment
used to capture the natural color. On Wednesday, a more detailed
image (second photo) was taken from the Landsat 8
Reporter Tristan Baurick describes the phenomenon in yesterday’s
Kitsap Sun. The single-celled plankton are not harmful to
people or animals, so the bloom won’t affect shellfish harvesting.
Hood Canal, as we’ve discussed many times, is prone to low-oxygen
conditions, often exacerbated by massive blooms of plankton, which
reduce oxygen through the process of decay.
The last major bloom of this kind in Hood Canal was noted in
northern Hood Canal during the summer of 2007. Samples taken at
that time showed the species of coccolithophorid to be
Emiliania huxleyi, according to a report for the Hood
Canal Dissolved Oxygen Program.
Congress is on the verge of passing a law that would open a door
for invasive species to sneak into Puget Sound from San Francisco
Bay — known as the most infested waterway in the country.
The proposed legislation, supported by the shipping industry, is
focused on reducing regulations surrounding the release of ballast
water, which large ships use to maintain stability. Environmental
groups and officials from at least nine states have voiced their
opposition to the proposal, saying it could result in long-term
damage to coastal and Great
Ballast water doesn’t get much attention in the media, but it
has been associated with the transfer of invasive species
throughout the world. Ships often take on ballast water at ports
where they unload their cargo before moving to their next
destination for a new load. As ships take on cargo, they discharge
ballast water from the previous location — along with any organisms
that hitched a ride.
Introduced species may multiply, displace native species and
disrupt the food web. Lacking natural predators, some invasive
species have been known to grow out of control, taking over beaches
or underwater areas.
Rules and more rules
To reduce the risk of invasive species, the U.S. Coast Guard
requires vessels from foreign countries to exchange their ballast
water at sea before entering U.S. waters. Studies have shown that
most organisms living out in the ocean don’t survive in coastal
waters, and vice versa. So it is less risky for Puget Sound to
receive ballast water picked up well off the coast than from
another coastal inlet.
Ships that don’t discharge ballast water don’t need to comply
with the Coast Guard’s ballast-exchange rule, nor do any ships
transiting the U.S. coast, such as those coming into Puget Sound
For years, fears have been growing that Puget Sound will become
invaded by species that could alter sea life as we know it today.
San Francisco Bay is dominated by more than 200 non-native species,
including the European
green crab and the Asian
clam — both of which have caused enormous economic losses to
the shellfish industry in various locations.
In contrast, Puget Sound has become home to an identified 74
non-native marine species, although early introductions of exotic
plankton — including some that produce toxins — could have gone
In reaction to growing concerns about invasive species, the
Washington Legislature passed a law in 2000 that requires ballast
exchange for ships arriving from anywhere outside a “common waters”
zone. That’s an area from the Columbia River to just north of
Vancouver, B.C. Consequently, ships from California that intend to
release ballast water into Puget Sound must first exchange their
ballast water at least 50 miles off the coast.
While the exchange of ballast water has been relatively
effective in controlling the release of non-native species, the
technique has always been considered an interim measure. Treating
ballast water to kill organisms has been the long-term goal — and
that’s where the confusion and frustration begins.
The International Maritime Organization has one treatment
standard nearing final adoption for ships throughout the world. The
Coast Guard says the IMO requirement to eliminate “viable”
organisms — those able to reproduce — is too risky. The Coast Guard
requires that organisms be killed. States may choose to issue their
own standards, and California has proposed the most stringent
treatment standards of all. Still, most of these standards are
essentially on hold pending testing and certification of specific
Shipping companies say all these costly and conflicting rules
are too difficult to navigate for businesses dealing in interstate
and international commerce. But that’s not all the rules they may
The Environmental Protection Agency became involved in ballast
water in 2008, after federal courts ruled that the shipping
industry is not exempt from the Clean Water Act. The EPA then came
up with a “vessel general permit” for ballast water and other
discharges from ships, a permit that was challenged twice by
environmental groups. Each time, the courts ruled against the
The latest EPA permit failed to require the “best available
technology” for ballast water treatment, failed to set numerical
standards, failed to require monitoring, and failed to meet other
provisions of the Clean Water Act, according to a ruling
handed down in October (PDF 6.4 mb) by the Second Circuit Court
of Appeals in New York. A revised permit is now in the works.
Legislation and politics
That brings us to the controversial legislation, called the
Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, or VIDA. The essence of the bill
is to eliminate state jurisdiction and any oversight by the EPA.
Upon enactment, only Coast Guard rules would apply, and ships from
San Francisco would no longer need to exchange their ballast water
before coming into Washington or Oregon. For an in-depth
understanding of the bill, read the
Congressional Research Service report (PDF 3.5 mb).
The lack of coastwise ballast exchange is the biggest concern of
officials along the West Coast, where similar state requirements
are in effect. In California, the problem is that VIDA would allow
the spread of invasive species from San Francisco Bay to more
pristine bays, such as Humboldt Bay. While the bill allows states
to petition for regulations to deal with local conditions, nobody
knows how that would work. The petition would need scientific proof
that the local regulations are needed and feasible, and the Coast
Guard would have 90 days to make a decision.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, VIDA became attached to
the National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved. NDAA is
a “must-pass” bill to authorize military funding and many other
things associated with national defense.
The Senate version of the defense bill does not contain the VIDA
provision. While the two bills are technically in a conference
committee, insiders tell me that top leaders in the House and
Senate must engage in political battles over the critical defense
bill and try to work out a compromise to gain approval in both
The shipping industry is lobbying hard for VIDA to stay in the
compromise bill, while environmentalists want to take it out. We
may not know which of the related and unrelated riders on the bill
will survive until the bill is ready for congressional action.
In the Senate, Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio was the original
sponsor of the legislation when it was a stand-alone bill.
Republicans would like him to get a win for the folks back home,
where Rubio is engaged in a tight election race. (See Dan
Friedman’s story in Fortune.)
President Obama, threatening a veto, lists VIDA as one of many
provisions that he opposes in the House version of the National
Defense Authorization Act. See
Statement of Administration Policy (PDF 1.2 mb). Nobody thinks
he would veto the bill over ballast water alone.
Many shipping industry officials say they don’t object to
stringent treatment standards. They only wish to avoid multiple,
confusing standards. They also would like some assurance that the
standards are technically feasible and won’t require ongoing costly
changes to equipment.
Environmentalists say they don’t want to lose the authority of
the Clean Water Act, which allows average citizens to bring
lawsuits to protect the environment.
“The Clean Water Act is a tried and true approach for
controlling water pollution problems,” said Nina Bell of Northwest
Environmental Advocates in Portland. Her group was among those that
brought the lawsuit
against the EPA (PDF 6.8 mb).
“I think we are poised to make some real progress,” Nina told
me. “VIDA opts instead to take away authority from the
Environmental Protection Agency and give it to the Coast Guard,
which has no environmental expertise. The Coast Guard has a lot of
priorities, such as keeping people safe on ships and protecting our
waters, but this is not one of them.”
The EPA has clear authority to regulate ballast water and limit
the spread of invasive species, she said. If the EPA were to issue
strong requirements, the states would not need their own
Country music star Blake Shelton thought his cup of sake tasted
like “Easter egg coloring,” but he kept on asking for more of the
rice wine at the Japanese sushi restaurant he was visiting.
“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon convinced Blake to go with him
to the restaurant, because Blake had never tried sushi. With
cameras rolling, Jimmy demonstrated the finer points of eating the
various offerings, but at times Blake seemed to have the upper
Blake’s enjoyment of the experience appears somewhat mixed, as
you can see in the first video, but the situation was amusing.
The second video describes a practical joke that the Japanese
people have allegedly been pulling on Australians, although they
are not the only people in the world to have fallen for this
long-running practical joke. I was unable to locate the original
producer of the video, but it has been posted numerous times the
past few years. I’ve posted the earliest version I could find.
The Japanese people apparently can find amusement in some of
their own cultural traditions. Numerous videos called “The Japanese
Tradition” were created by the comedy duo of Jin Katagirl and
Kentaro Kobayashi, who call themselves the Rahmens. In their short
videos, they make light of customs from chopsticks to games.
Frank Prins collected a bunch of these videos and posted them
on his YouTube channel.
I’ve posted one of videos with English subtitles called “The
Japanese Tradition — Sushi,” which covers the entire experience at
a Sushi bar. Another amusing
version of this video comes with an English voice narrating the
piece. The narrator writes on YouTube that he re-edited the video
and tweaked the humor to make it more appealing to a Western
“The Japanese culture is something I have absolutely fallen in
love with, and I intend no disrespect by any of the jokes used in
the video,” states the unidentified narrator. The reviews were
mixed about whether it was appropriate to alter the original.
Automated equipment installed Monday off the Washington Coast
will track concentrations of six species of plankton that could
become harmful to humans and marine species.
The Environmental Sample Processor, or ESP, collects discrete
samples of water and processes them for analysis. Imbedded modules
can test for DNA and antibodies to identify the organisms picked up
in the seawater. Concentrations of the plankton and their toxins
are sent to shore-based researchers via satellite.
The equipment was installed by scientists with the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of
Washington. The device was developed at the
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Stephanie Moore of
NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center explains the benefits of
the device in the first video on this page. The second video
provides a few more technical details with graphic depictions of
The ESP was deployed in the Juan de Fuca eddy, a known pathway
for toxic algae 13 miles off the Washington Coast near LaPush. The
remote, self-operating laboratory will operate about 50 feet
One of the primary targets of the monitoring is
Pseudo-nitzschia, a harmful algae capable of producing
domoic acid. This toxin can accumulate in shellfish and can cause
diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, which can progress to severe
illness. Last year, a massive bloom of this toxic algae canceled
scheduled razor clam seasons on Washington beaches with untold
The harmful algal bloom (HAB) affected the entire West Coast,
from California to Alaska. It was the largest and longest-lasting
bloom in at least 15 years, according to NOAA’s National Ocean
“Concentrations of domoic acid in seawater, some forage fish and
crab samples were among the highest ever reported in this region,”
says a factsheet
from the service. “By mid-May, domoic acid concentrations in
Monterey Bay, California, were 10 to 30 times the level that would
be considered high for a normal Pseudo-nitzschia
“Other HAB toxins were also detected on the West Coast.
Shellfish closures in Puget Sound protected consumers from
paralytic shellfish poisoning and diarrhetic shellfish
Paralytic shellfish poisoning is associated with a group of
plankton called Alexandrium, typically Alexandrium
catenella in the Puget Sound region.
In addition to sampling for Alexandrium and four
species of Pseudo-nitzchia, the ESP is monitoring for
Heterosigma akashiwo, which is associated with massive
fish kills, including farmed salmon.
For years, I have been told the story of how PCBs and other
toxic chemicals cling to soil particles and tiny organic debris as
polluted water washes off the land.
Eventually, the PCB-laden particles are carried into Puget
Sound, where they settle to the bottom. From there, they begin
working their way into marine animals, disrupting their normal
functions — such as growth, immune response and reproduction.
The idea that contaminants settle to the bottom is the story
I’ve been told for as long as I can remember, a story long accepted
among the scientific community in Puget Sound and across the U.S.
So I was surprised when I heard that leading scientists who study
toxic chemicals in Puget Sound were questioning this long-held idea
about how dangerous chemicals get into the food web.
Puget Sound may be different from other waterways, they
“When you look at the concentrations in herring and the
concentrations in the sediments, something does not line up,” Jim
West told me. “The predictions are way off. We think there is a
Jim is a longtime researcher for the Washington Department of
Fish and Wildlife. I have worked with him through the years on
various stories about the effects of contaminants on marine
organisms. But now he was talking about changing the basic thinking
about how chemicals are transferred through the food web.
Jim postulates that many of these PCB-laden particles that wash
down with stormwater never sink to the bottom of Puget Sound.
Instead, they are taken up by tiny organisms floating in the water.
The organisms, including bacteria and phytoplankton, are eaten by
larger plankton and become incorporated into fish and other
free-swimming creatures — the pelagic food web.
Jim presented his findings at the Salish Sea Ecosystem
Conference last month in Vancouver, B.C. Sandie O’Neill, another
WDFW researcher, presented other new information about the transfer
of contaminants through the food web — from plankton to herring to
salmon to killer whales.
My stories about the studies conducted by Jim and Sandie (with
help from a team of skilled scientists) were published today in the
Puget Sound, where you can read them. These are the first of at
least 10 story packages to be to written by a team of reporters
working for the Puget Sound Institute.
The Salish Sea conference was attended by more than 1,100
people, including 450 researchers and policymakers who talked about
new information related to the Salish Sea — which includes Puget
Sound in Washington, the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia and
the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the U.S./Canada border.
When I first heard about Jim West’s idea regarding the fate of
toxic chemicals circulating in Puget Sound, I thought one result
might be to shift restoration dollars away from cleaning up
sediments to cleaning up stormwater. After all, if the majority of
PCBs aren’t getting into the sediments, why spend millions of
dollars cleaning up the stuff on the bottom? Why not devote that
money to cleaning up stormwater?
In fact, the worst of the contaminated sediments in Puget Sound
have been cleaned up, with some cleanups now under way. That helps
to ensure that toxic chemicals won’t get re-suspended in the water
and taken up into the pelagic food web all over again. A few
hotspots of contaminated sediments may still need some
As far as putting the focus on stormwater, that’s exactly what
the Puget Sound Partnership has done with support from the
Department of Ecology and other clean-water agencies. It is now
well established that the key to reducing pollution in Puget Sound
is to keep toxic chemicals out of stormwater or else create
settling ponds, rain gardens, pervious pavement and other methods
to capture the PCB-laden particles before they reach Puget
I noticed that Ecology just today
announced a new round of regulations to control stormwater in
King, Pierce, Snohomish and Clark counties. Proposed changes
include updating stormwater programs for new construction projects
and for redevelopment. An appendix will describe Seattle’s plan to
reduce stormwater pollution in the Lower Duwamish River, where PCBs
are a major problem. For more on stormwater regulations, go to
As Sandie told me during our discussions, all the work on fixing
habitat in Puget Sound streams is not enough if we can’t control
the discharge of PCB’s — which were banned in the 1970s — along
with newer contaminants still working their way into our beloved
waterway. Any measure of healthy habitat must include an
understanding of the local chemistry.
Death came early to Hood Canal this year, demonstrating just how
odd and unpredictable ocean conditions can be.
Fish kills caused by low-oxygen conditions in southern Hood
Canal usually occur in late September or October. That’s when
low-oxygen waters near the seabed are pushed upward by an intrusion
of heavier water coming in from the Pacific Ocean and creeping
along the bottom. Winds out of the south can quickly blow away the
surface waters, leaving the fish with no escape.
That’s basically what happened over the past month, as
conditions developed about a month earlier than normal. South winds
led to reports of fish dying and deep-water animals coming to the
surface to get enough oxygen, with the worst conditions occurring
on Friday. Check out the video on this page by Seth Book, a
biologist with the Skokomish Tribe, who found deep-water ratfish
swimming near the surface.
The story of this year’s strange conditions actually begins
about a year ago and involves a 1,000-mile-long “blob” of unusually
warm ocean water off the West Coast. State Climatologist Nick Bond,
who coined the term “blob,” explains its formation in an article in
Research Letters with a summarized description by Hannah Hickey
The warm, low-density coastal waters related to the blob came
into Hood Canal on schedule last fall, but they were not dense
enough to flush out the low-oxygen waters, according to University
of Washington oceanographer Jan Newton.
Hood Canal entered 2015 with the least-dense waters at depth
over the past 10 years. They remained in a hypoxic state, meaning
that levels were below 2.5 parts per million. Sea creatures unable
to swim away can be unduly stressed and unable to function normally
at that level. Conditions worsened into the summer, when the
hypoxic layer at Hoodsport grew to about 300 feet thick.
By then, the annual intrusion of deep seawater with somewhat
elevated oxygen levels was on its way into Hood Canal, spurred on
by upwelling off the coast. This year’s waters are more normal in
density, though their arrival is at least a month early. By August
9, the hypoxic layer at Hoodsport was reduced from 300 to 60 feet,
pushed upward by the denser water.
It’s always interesting to see this dynamic play out. The layer
of extreme low-oxygen water becomes sandwiched between the
higher-oxygen water pushing in from the ocean and the surface
water, which ordinarily stays oxygenated by winds and incoming
streams. Without south winds, the middle low-oxygen layer
eventually comes up and mixes into the surface layer.
If south winds come on strong, however, the surface layer is
blown to the north, causing the low oxygen water to rise to the
surface. Fish, shrimp and other creatures swim upward toward the
surface, trying to stay ahead of the rising low-oxygen layer. When
the low-oyygen layer reaches the surface, fish may struggle to
breathe in the uppermost mixing layer. Unfortunately, the fish have
no way of knowing that safer conditions lie down below — beneath
the low-oxygen layer and within waters arriving from the ocean.
Jan Newton reported that the low oxygen levels in southern Hood
Canal earlier this year were the most extreme measured over the
past 10 years. So far, however, the fish kills don’t seem as bad as
those in 2003, 2006 and 2010, she said.
The graph below shows how the deep layer coming in from the
ocean at 279 feet deep contains more oxygen than the middle layer
at 66 feet deep. The surface layer, which normally contains the
most oxygen, dipped to extremes several times near the beginning of
August and again on Friday, Aug. 28. These data, recorded from a
buoy near Hoodsport, are considered unverified.
It’s an interesting time for researchers to begin writing a blog
about ocean conditions off Oregon and Washington, an area
undergoing some fascinating changes in oceanography and
Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and Oregon State University
launched their new website,
“Newporter Blog,” last week. It’s named after the Newport Line,
an area of study off the Oregon Coast where researchers have
monitored changes for the past 20 years.
“This year, the ocean has been very different,” wrote blogger
Jennifer Fisher in the blog’s first post on June 23. “Anomalously
warm surface water dubbed the ‘warm blog’ moved onto the
continental shelf off Newport in September 2014. A very large
harmful algal bloom (HAB) spanning from British Columbia to
California is occurring off the coast right now. El Niño conditions
are occurring at the equator, and NOAA is forecasting a 90-percent
chance that an El Niño will persist through the Fall.”
The next blog post last Thursday was by researcher Cheryl Morgan
from the Canadian fishing vessel FV Frosti “somewhere off the coast
of the Pacific Northwest,” where researchers are looking to see how
juvenile salmon are doing. They were taking note of anything picked
up in their nets in the upper 60 feet of water.
“Watching the trawl come in is like the anticipation of opening
a Christmas gift,” Cheryl wrote. “What could be in there? How many?
How big? Have we ever caught any of them in the net?
“We always hope for some juvenile salmon, since that is the main
point of the survey, but we also like to see something different,
strange, or unusual to spice things up,” she continued.
The next post on Monday revealed that fish being caught were of
a kind seen in Northwest waters only when the temperatures rise.
They included pompano and jack mackerel. The researchers were
especially surprised to find bottom-dwelling flatfish in their net
some several hundred feet off the bottom.
“What is a fish that lives on the bottom, one side down, doing
in the water column?” she asked. “Perhaps they are lost, could not
find the bottom or they are chasing some dinner. Most strange,
however, was the catch of nearly 3,330 Pacific sanddabs … in ONE
trawl. That was a first for even the fishing crew.”
The team also brought up a juvenile red octopus, a species
normally found among rocks on the bottom — “another creature that
is a long way from home.”
The research fishing will continue from Newport to the upper
corner of Washington state. The scientists are taking note of any
birds preying on fish before they begin their daily trawl. Plankton
also are scooped up to see what the fish might be eating and to
provide new data about the harmful algal bloom.
The work is being funded by NOAA and Bonneville Power
The researchers/bloggers said they would share their findings as
they go along. I, for one, look forward to learning about ocean
conditions and how the warm water is affecting all sorts of sealife
along the West Coast.