Watersheds – A Pathway to Puget Sound

For 10,000 years, the waters flowing into the estuary of Puget Sound have absorbed the materials needed to support this incredible variety of plants and animals. Today, those same waters carry more. Every time we wash our hands, clean our drains, or water our lawns, we can add wastes to the water flowing into Puget Sound. Excessive sediments from construction sites can threaten the aquatic life that depends on clean water to survive. Toxic products from our households threaten fish, shellfish, and pollute the water which we swim and boat in. Fertilizers from our lawns and gardens can increase aquatic plant growth in shallow bays and inlets, using up oxygen needed to support life.

Small amounts of pollution from many different sources adding up to a big problem. Multiply the impacts of a single household’s waste by a million households and we have a significant source of pollution.

A few years ago, it was common to point to business and industry as sources of problems. Regulation, information and treatment are reducing the impacts from these sources. Yet the quality of our waters continues to be a concern. Many of our current water quality problems come from rapid population growth in the Puget Sound area. Increasing numbers of people increase the pressures on our waters. Each of our “little” environmental transgressions seems unimportant by itself. But when added to those of our growing number of neighbors, we create serious problems.

This publication is dedicated to the enthusiasm and creativity of each of us living within the watershed of Puget Sound. Though each of the chapters in the SoundBook may be used separately, the publication’s lasting value lies in their combined use. Many of the solutions are simple, many save money, some initially require more work or thought – they all contribute to protecting the health or our waters.

A Sound Start