Thursday, August 01, 2013

USA's EPA report on the Salish Sea

The Salish Sea is our home waters here at Kayak Yak. That's the inland waterway newly re-named to acknowledge the Salish First Nations people; previously, maps named parts of the Salish Sea according to various protocols. It's good to have a collective name that acknowledges how Georgia Strait, Desolation Sound, Puget Sound, the harbours of major cities, and the watersheds of many islands and the mainland are all connected and affected by common factors.

Western Washington University's map is on the EPA website

As a kayaker, it's tremendous to realize that we are living in what is one of the finest places in the world for cold-water sea kayaking. Apparently tropical sea kayaking is pretty darned nice too, but hey, I still haven't paddled every launch site near home yet, so I'm not jonesing for warm water! And we've got some terrific lakes to paddle as well, and river kayakers have good times in our area.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the USA has some comments to make in their recent Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report. Check out their website and see what key indicators they've been studying to monitor changes both good and bad in this part of the world. I'm pleased to see that they're acknowledging both the needs of humans and of wildlife!

So far, they've found good news about air quality, freshwater quality, and toxic chemicals in the food web. But there is not good news about stream flow, and marine species at risk, and other key indicators. The executive summary of the EPA report sums up all their findings in plain language -- read it here.

The bottom line: appreciate where we are, and take good care of it.

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