Abstract Title

Session S-04C: Importance of Puget Sound Lowland Streams

Presenter/Author Information

Jamie Glasgow, Wild Fish ConservancyFollow

Keywords

Freshwater

Start Date

1-5-2014 8:30 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 10:00 AM

Description

The challenges facing Puget Sound reach beyond its deep inlets and sinuous shorelines, all the way to the crests of the Cascades and Olympics, into the rivers and streams that are the Sound’s lifeblood. The streams that flow into Puget Sound are an integral part of its physical, biological, and chemical integrity. When those streams are inadequately protected, the consequences affect Puget Sound as surely as water flows downhill. State and local government agencies in Washington are charged with protecting Puget Sound’s streams from negative impacts caused by adjacent land-use activities. In many cases that charge hasn’t been met for a surprisingly simple reason: agencies have been relying on inaccurate maps. Washington’s regulatory agencies depend on a process called water typing to identify and classify streams, lakes, and wetlands for their importance, ecologically and for human uses. This basic inventory is the most fundamental step in conserving the health of Puget Sound and its tributaries. Water typing answers the question: “Where are the streams, and where are the fish habitats within them?” Unfortunately, current water typing records and maps often underestimate the actual miles of fish-bearing waters by 50% or more. Wild Fish Conservancy has documented widespread error throughout Puget Sound, finding that a significant number of streams in Puget Sound do not even appear on any maps. Hundreds of miles of productive Puget Sound watersheds are threatened because, when they are misidentified or unidentified on regulatory maps, they are often subjected to inappropriate land-use practices. Many streams are not receiving protection they warrant under already existing regulations. When misclassified and mismapped Puget Sound lowland are not protected from the negative impacts associated with forestry, agriculture, and development; the results are devastating for the streams, the fish that live in them, and the integrity of the Puget Sound nearshore habitats they feed. Until the watersheds draining into Puget Sound are accurately identified and protected, cumulative effects from land-use in these watersheds will continue to contribute to the compromised health of Puget Sound. And until systematic inventories are performed, models are improved, regulatory maps are updated, and streams are adequately protected, progress towards restoring the integrity of Puget Sound will continue to be significantly offset by the pervasive and in many cases unrecorded loss of freshwater habitat and water quality.

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May 1st, 8:30 AM May 1st, 10:00 AM

A Thousand Cuts – Protecting the streams that sustain Puget Sound

Room 606

The challenges facing Puget Sound reach beyond its deep inlets and sinuous shorelines, all the way to the crests of the Cascades and Olympics, into the rivers and streams that are the Sound’s lifeblood. The streams that flow into Puget Sound are an integral part of its physical, biological, and chemical integrity. When those streams are inadequately protected, the consequences affect Puget Sound as surely as water flows downhill. State and local government agencies in Washington are charged with protecting Puget Sound’s streams from negative impacts caused by adjacent land-use activities. In many cases that charge hasn’t been met for a surprisingly simple reason: agencies have been relying on inaccurate maps. Washington’s regulatory agencies depend on a process called water typing to identify and classify streams, lakes, and wetlands for their importance, ecologically and for human uses. This basic inventory is the most fundamental step in conserving the health of Puget Sound and its tributaries. Water typing answers the question: “Where are the streams, and where are the fish habitats within them?” Unfortunately, current water typing records and maps often underestimate the actual miles of fish-bearing waters by 50% or more. Wild Fish Conservancy has documented widespread error throughout Puget Sound, finding that a significant number of streams in Puget Sound do not even appear on any maps. Hundreds of miles of productive Puget Sound watersheds are threatened because, when they are misidentified or unidentified on regulatory maps, they are often subjected to inappropriate land-use practices. Many streams are not receiving protection they warrant under already existing regulations. When misclassified and mismapped Puget Sound lowland are not protected from the negative impacts associated with forestry, agriculture, and development; the results are devastating for the streams, the fish that live in them, and the integrity of the Puget Sound nearshore habitats they feed. Until the watersheds draining into Puget Sound are accurately identified and protected, cumulative effects from land-use in these watersheds will continue to contribute to the compromised health of Puget Sound. And until systematic inventories are performed, models are improved, regulatory maps are updated, and streams are adequately protected, progress towards restoring the integrity of Puget Sound will continue to be significantly offset by the pervasive and in many cases unrecorded loss of freshwater habitat and water quality.