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Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - Page updated at 05:13 PM

A Seattle Times Special Report

Failing our Sound

Seattle Times Special Report: Failing our Sound


A Seattle Times Special Report | We pledged to protect Puget Sound. We've passed laws and spent millions to preserve it. Yet we keep sabotaging it.

The Sound is by no means dead. By some measures it's cleaner and healthier than it was 30 years ago. Yet that progress is at risk because we're still betraying Puget Sound with the choices we make about developing the land. It's not because people are breaking the rules. The rules are simply inadequate for the task at hand.

Today, stormwater flowing into Puget Sound is a slow-motion oil spill. Coho salmon have been filmed going belly-up in Seattle streams after encountering a gush of stormwater.

The painful cost of booming growth

Good intentions, bad results when it comes to replacing wetlands

Wetlands help sustain hundreds of species and are crucial to Puget Sound. Efforts to replace and increase them have instead created a patchwork of failed projects.

Saving wetlands: a broken promise

Beaches suffer as walls go up

Shoreline-property owners continue building walls to protect their land, despite the harm the structures inflict on some of the richest pockets of life in the Sound.

Beach bulkheads come in different sizes and shapes

Paying landowners to protect Puget Sound

Some places around Puget Sound are experimenting with using the market to help the environment: Farmers get paid extra to keep farming. Developers buy credits to build more houses where they otherwise couldn't. So far, few landowners here have participated.

Puget Sound Web Cast

Local business, government and environmental leaders chatted with Seattle Times reporters.

Tuesday | Q&A: What can I do to help protect Puget Sound?
Curtis Hinman, a watershed ecologist with Washington State University Extension office in Pierce County and Jim Brennan, a marine habitat specialist answered your questions at noon on Tuesday about things you can do to protect Puget Sound.