Salmon are the lifeblood of the Salish Sea. More than 137 species depend on salmon, including humans. Yet, over the last 200 years human activity has caused salmon populations to decline drastically. Recoded May 20, 2021, 6 experts shared stories about their work discovering innovative ways to help recover Salish Sea salmon populations.

Angela Dillon
Stephanie Blair
Chelsea Mitchell
Jason Toft
Tessa Francis
Joseph Bogaard

Living Waters is a partnership between Vashon Center for the Arts, Vashon Nature Center, Vashon Heritage Museum and the Natural History Museum to increase public awareness of efforts to restore the health of salmon, whales, and the Salish Sea.


01:23:13 Mark Nassutti: How do we mitigate storm water runoff here on Vashon?

01:24:25 Vashon Center for the Arts: Thanks for your question, Mark. I’ve noted it and you can ask it during our Q & A at the end of the presentation.

01:24:47 Lisa Toftemark: Blair/Stephanie — I’m curious to hear what you’re investigating regarding how fungi might be involved as a solution.

01:38:10 Maria Metler: Podcast link:

01:39:44 Maria Metler: Also: Shore friendly part 3 – Restoring the connection between land and sea

01:40:01 Bianca Perla: Thank you Maria!

02:08:12 Maria Metler: Tessa – only four chinook was the top monitoring net count! Joseph – the graphs do tell it all. This reminds me of a question from a fifth grader yesterday about how scientists determine a species is extinct. Perhaps touch both the methods and the number over time?

02:17:24 Ethan Russo: Is there any effort toward removing toxicants from tires?

02:25:34 Tessa Francis (she/her/hers): Maria – to clarify, 4 Chinook was an average, not the high. And juvenile Chinook don’t aggregate as much as, say, chum do. Chum hauls are more in the 40-50 per net. Last, these fish are distributed unevenly through space and time, which is why lampara netting of juveniles would not be the best way to count these fish and understand their trends through time. The best strategies for that are when they are adults returning to spawning streams and rivers.

02:25:35 Chelsea Mitchell:

02:26:07 Joseph Bogaard: I have heard that electric vehicles produce less pollutants on road ways than combustion engines. Can any of the panelists speak to that?

02:26:34 Lisa Toftemark: Is it best to wash your car at a place like Brown Bear (as opposed to at home in your driveway), or do those car wash facilities do any better with diverting storm water?

02:26:44 Chelsea Mitchell:

02:27:05 Chelsea Mitchell: That is a resource summarizing what you can do to help mitigate stormwater

02:27:40 Chelsea Mitchell: Great question, Lisa! It is best to go to a carwash because they have to manage their runoff through municipal stormwater regulations

02:28:21 MICHAEL LAURIE: Also car washes often reuse some of the wash water.

02:28:31 Jennifer Lindsay: I look forward to sharing this segment with the fifth graders!

02:28:50 Stephanie Blair: Joseph, yes electric vehicles reduce pollutant emissions from cars, but they still use tires to go down the road. So 6PPD-quinone will still be an issue until we can use Salmon Safe Tires.

02:31:24 Maria Metler: Another curious question from a fifth grader: do salmon get thirsty?

02:32:09 Stephanie Blair: Lisa, I haven’t looked at how fungi affects salmon toxicology, but I know previous graduate students at our center have looked at pollutant removal in bioretention systems due to fungi. They do provide help in breaking down organic contaminants, broadly speaking.

02:32:46 Britt Freda: So happy to hear curious and engaged 5th graders asking questions and participating in these important conversations!

02:32:47 Chelsea Mitchell: Great question! I bet Steph can answer this, but I’ll try. Salmon regulate how much water enters their body through their gills. Their gills have special proteins that help them let water in or out depending on how salty the water is

02:34:25 Stephanie Blair: Maria. Yes, salmon drink water in saltwater to replace water lost through their gills by osmosis. They have to release a lot of salty urine to get rid of the extra salt.

02:35:34 Chelsea Mitchell: To follow up on your questions, Lisa, We have found hat adding fungi (specifically, wine cap mushroom) to bioretention can help prevent excess phosphorus from leaching out of compost. I am currently studying the role of fungi in treatment of hydrocarbons in stormwater. So far it looks like fungi can help promote bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in bioretention soils

02:36:00 Jennifer Lindsay: So cool! -Jen Lindsay, 5th grade teacher…thanks for the conversation!

02:36:01 Chelsea Mitchell: There is also some evidence that suggests fungi can help mitigate release of pathogens from bioretention systems

02:36:28 Maria Metler: Thank you all!!

02:36:30 Lisa Toftemark: Thanks for your answers, Chelsea and Steph.

02:36:39 Roxanne Lyons: Thank you panelists! Thank you Vashon Nature Center and VCA!

02:36:40 Chelsea Mitchell: Thanks for your amazing questions!