Urban stream estuaries contain potential that can easily be incorporated into master plans to everyone’s benefit. Urban streams have economic and ecological potential that can be realized if we base decisions on science, something that sadly isn’t always the case in Olympia, Washington.

Oceanography is the study of physical, chemical and biological parameters. Physical parameters would include soil composition and water depth, temperature and circulation patterns. Chemical parameters might include oxygen content and contamination. Biological parameters would include plants and animals. When we modify physical parameters by such activities as dredging and armoring tide flats or running streams through long culverts, we impact chemical parameters such as dissolved oxygen and biological parameters from plankton on up. Ideally, we would consider interrelationships and cumulative impacts.

Scientific inquiry begins with observation. We then form a hypothesis and design a test that may lead to a conclusion. Each step should be clearly stated and subject to challenges. It can be difficult to control science. The results can be unpredictable. The alternative is shifting conclusions, limited options, the straw man, the red herring and equivocation, the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth. The story of Budd Inlet is a long chain of logical fallacies.

Budd Inlet 2008

Budd Inlet 2008, southernmost point of Puget Sound. West Bay on the left,

East Bay on the right, Capitol Lake lower left.

Budd Inlet 1948
Budd Inlet 1948 before 5th Avenue dam. East Bay on the right.
Budd Inlet 1879
Budd Inlet 1879. East Bay Moxlie Creek estuary in foreground.

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Dioxin and PCBs

The primary chemical of concern in Budd Inlet is dioxin, a legacy of preserving pilings. Concentrations at the head of East Bay exceed 200 ppt in surface layers and 1000 ppt in subsurface layers. The standard for open water disposal is 3.5 ppt. For MTCA cleanup sites 11 ppt. Dioxin is probably the most biologically damaging non-radioactive … Continue reading Dioxin and PCBs

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