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Puget Sound

About EPA's Work in Puget Sound


Puget Sound is part of a larger marine ecosystem called the Salish Sea, which also includes the Georgia Basin in Canada and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

There is no boundary that officially defines Puget Sound, but for regulatory purposes we refer to it as the marine areas south of the U.S.-Canada border and east of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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Humans have inhabited the Salish Sea for over 10,000 years. Over 7 million people currently live within its 42,000 square-mile watershed. By the year 2025, we expect the population to reach more than 9 million people.

Orcas off Pender Island, British Columbia. In the late 1800's, the orca population was estimated at over 200. Today their numbers are less than half that. Photo courtesy of Stuart Yee.It's also home to over 200 species of fish, over 100 species of birds, 20 species of marine mammals, and over 3,000 species of invertebrates.

The health and productivity of Puget Sound is a cornerstone of this region's quality of life, and the area's vibrant economy benefits from commercial fishing to eco-tourism.

Many of these species have experienced serious declines and are at risk or vulnerable to extinction. The continued loss of these species points to declining ecosystem health that affects the economic, social and cultural well being of our communities.

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We all have a common interest in protecting and restoring Puget Sound. Federal, state, and tribal governments, community groups, non-profits, and municipalities are delivering protection and restoration work that's showing results.

The EPA provides federal funding to help support many of these efforts through our National Estuary Program (NEP). Washington's Puget Sound Partnership NEP Atlas Exitprovides mapping, accounting, and transparency information for National Estuary Program investments in Puget Sound.

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The following links exit the site Exit
  • Puget Sound Partnership - Washington's lead state agency for protecting and restoring Puget Sound.
  • Puget Sound Starts Here - Public/private partnership to raise awareness about how our everyday actions can impact Puget Sound.
  • Puget Sound Institute - The institute brings together scientists, engineers and policy makers working on the restoration and protection of Puget Sound and provides expert advice based on the best-available science.