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4 thoughts on “Hood Canal report compiles oxygen studies

  1. At least we don’t have to spend more time and money pursuing solutions that are not the right ones, based on guesses rather than science. I think that’s a positive step.

  2. I believe an incredible amount has been learned the past few years about low oxygen conditions in Hood Canal. That we don’t have all the answers is not a failure but an indication of the complexity of the system being studied.

    One of the great assets we have today is a series of monitoring buoys that help predict coming fish kills and help us know what is going on day to day. See the blog I wrote last October about becoming a low-oxygen nerd.

  3. Yes, agreed. We as a nation spend billions if not trillions (over the decades) on studying outer space. I have no problem channeling some of that money to studying the Salish Sea, if no new taxes are the goal (to some voters).

  4. Absolutely agreed, this is an extremely complex system. I think that before dismissing that development influences fish kills in the area though, we need to take a look at the methodologies of the study. While the study is extensive – the study focuses on human-related nitrogen discharges and only briefly states that there could be potential effects from human-caused river diversions (specifically the Lake Cushman reservoir and dam and the large Bremerton water draws from the upper Union River watershed), the effects of which aren’t included.

    In speaking to what causes fish kills, they state:
    “Fish kills occur due to a cascade of natural events. Dense marine water enters Hood Canal and lifts water with low oxygen levels toward the water surface. As river inflows decline during the dry season, the freshwater cap on the surface thins. Southwest wind events push this thin cap to the north, which allows low-oxygen water beneath it to surface rapidly.”

    It seems to me that as the easily movable thin freshwater cap on the surface (that gets pushed north) is primarily to blame for allowing the low-oxygen waters to rise to the surface, then wouldn’t the highly decreased freshwater flow in the south Hood Canal (especially from the now dammed Skokomish River) be a huge factor? Wouldn’t a thicker freshwater cap be less susceptible to southwest winds and not allow low-oxygen waters to rise so rapidly?

    Again though, it’s a complex system and I agree with you that the fact that “we don’t have all the answers is not a failure but an indication of the complexity of the system being studied.”

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