Yeah, but what can I do about it?

That question is answered at the end of this heartbreaking story from today’s P-I.

If you’ve been here more than a few years, even if you have never gone below the water’s surface, the idea of dwindling marine life won’t surprise you. Even around WS, we don’t see what we often saw in the ’90s — “rafting” California sea lions off Alki, diverse and numerous bird sightings south of Alki Point including surf scoters and buffleheads.

Not to say it’s all gone. But it’s going. Maybe not irreversibly, though — there are success stories out there, such as the brown pelican and the gray whale, when those in power dare to do something.

1 Reply to "Yeah, but what can I do about it?"

  • herongrrrl October 9, 2006 (2:54 pm)

    Might I suggest the following restoration event, happening on the Duwamish River this coming Saturday, as a first step to answering that “what can I do about it” question?

    It’s very true that our seabird populations have really taken a hit here. But it’s interesting to observe the fluctuations in the intertidal critters. When my mom was growing up here in the 1950s, there were moonsnails all over the beaches. When I was a kid in the 70s, they were a rare find indeed. Now they’re back. But no one has done the research to discover why they might have been abundant, then scarce, now abundant again–and whether their abundance or scarcity indicates a healthier ecosystem.

    We never had bald eagles or ospreys here when I was a kid, now I see one almost every day. The other day I counted six herons from bus route 37 betwen Me-Kwa-Mooks Park and Duwamish Head. This is not, at all, to deny the frightening declines we’re seeing in many other species, though; there is, as the article states, huge room for improvement, and that improvement is really necessary to protect our human health and quality of life as much as the lives of the critters we enjoy sharing this watershed with.

    Really, it’s easy to do something, but hard to believe that as one individual you can make a difference. I’ve been working in the field of making a difference for 15 years now, so I know each one of us really can. Just look out over the water for your inspiration…any day now, J-pod orcas should be passing through beginning their winter rounds in the central Sound, and in a few months the brants will be working the eegrass along the south side of Alki Point. Take a flashlight and the kids out to explore a winter-night low tide. Spend an idle hour picking through the fine pebbles and shells in the upper intertidal, and marvel at the exquisite patterns on the tiny periwinkles. There’s an awful lot to love about Puget Sound, and a lot of reason to stay hopeful–while you do your part to help it improve.

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