Photo by John Boyd
Orcas need bountiful salmon runs, especially Chinook salmon. These salmon populations are severely depleted from habitat degradation due to clearcutting, irrigation, diking, wetland destrucion, impeded migrations and loss of spawning beds from dams, over-fishing, pollution, and now warming oceans.

Of these, pollution from run-off can be reduced significantly by residents around Puget Sound. It starts where Puget Sound starts: here. Here are a few basic guidelines.

If you use chemicals like pesticides or fertilizer on your yard please be very cautious and if possible eliminate them entirely. When phosphorus in fertilizer washes off of our lawns into lakes, rivers, and eventually into Puget Sound, it causes rapid growth of weeds and smelly algae blooms that can harm fish, wildlife and public health.

Check under your car for oil spots, and if you see them, you're not only wasting oil, you are also polluting the land, which runs off into the rivers and streams, or directly into Puget Sound. If you wash your car, soap and oily residues can run into the Sound as well. Please use commercial car washes with controlled drains whenever possible.

Bacteria from pet waste can raise fecal coliform in Puget Sound to unhealthy levels, so please bag up and dispose of pet waste. If your septic system is in disrepair it may be leaching coliform into the soil and the Sound. Make sure your septic system is functioning well.

Wherever we live – in cities, suburbs or rural areas, from the South Sound to the North Sound and throughout the Salish Sea, our daily actions can contaminate stormwater runoff with pollution. Untreated stormwater flows down gutters and ditches, over roads and yards and into storm drains, or directly into streams, rivers and lakes and into Puget Sound – where it impairs reproduction and lowers immunity of the full range of marine organisms, from microscopic plankton to the Southern Resident orcas.

To learn more about how pollutants run off the land into Puget Sound and how to reduce them, see: