Watersheds-To-Sea (W2S)

The Puget Sound region is recognized as a dynamic landscape

The distribution of water across the landscape is one of the fundamental organizing principles of the earth and the life it supports.  Ecosystems organize the dynamic interplay of organisms and their environment, from a salmon to the exchange of carbon between vegetation and the atmosphere to the chemical changes in water as it moves through and across soil. The ability to determine cause/effect in the marine environment is intimately tied to the source and movement of materials on land. Understanding these interactions is particularly relevant to changes in land use and climate, both past and future.

PRISM has supported major initiatives to quantify and map land cover change in the Puget Sound region (see Landcover of Puget Sound), and to evaluate how the combination of changes in land cover and climate have affected the region's hydrology (see Water Cycle of Puget Sound).  PRISM is also currently supporting two high-profile regional watershed initiatives:

  • The Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Project, which is studying the causes of recent increases in the frequency and severity of periods of low dissolved oxygen in Hood Canal, where this has led to large fish kills and changes in the local marine ecosystem; and
  • The Skagit Alternative Futures Project, which is working with a wide range of local stakeholders (led by Skagit County) to consider alternative ways of accommodating population growth and  adapting to climate change over the next 50 years that could meet goals for the ecosystem, the viability of the local agricultural and forestry economies, and local quality of life.