Wonders of the Sound

Puget Sound is worth caring about. We have one of the richest marine environments in the world supporting an intricate web of relationships between people, other living creatures, and our surroundings. To solve the water quality problems of Puget Sound we need to understand the complex relationships between all parts of the ecosystem.

The 1,331 miles of shoreline, the coastline of Puget Sound, if straightened, would stretch between Seattle and Minneapolis. Add to that over 16,000 miles of lake, river, and stream frontage and it becomes clear that water defines our region.

The waters of Puget Sound are generally cold and turbulent. Twice daily, some 1.46 cubic miles of Puget Sound water is moved in and out by the tides. While this volume is about twice the average discharge from the Columbia River, it is less than 5% of the water the Sound contains at high tide.

Puget Sound is deep. In the northern portions of the Sound, depths of 600 to 800 feet are the rule. South of Tacoma, the Sound is more shallow, but depths of 300 feet are still typical.

Puget Sound is a complex living system in which all species serve a vital function. Consider the inhabitants: Over 200 kinds of fish, 14 species of marine mammals, 31 species of waterfowl, 57 species of birds, hundreds of species of shellfish, anemones, sea stars, worms, and other invertebrates, and up to 70 terrestrial wildlife species living either permanently or temporarily in Puget Sound. Not to mention diverse communities of algaes and eelgrass in near-shore and intertidal waters.

Watersheds – A Pathway to Puget Sound