By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
The Salish Sea is a relatively recent term for the waters and rivers that feed into what has been known as Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia.
The Salish Sea is a comprehensive term for the waterways across all local, county, state and even international boundaries and jurisdictions.
The Salish Sea is home to islands, river basins and about 7 million people who live within reach of the water from north of Vancouver, BC, Canada to, and beyond, Olympia, Washington.
The surrounding Salish Sea drainage basin (not counting the upper Fraser River watershed) includes approximately about 42,000 square miles. In addition to the approximately 7 million humans, the ecosystem is home to over 200 different species of fish, more than 100 different bird species, 20 different species of marine mammals and over 3,000 different species of invertebrates.
The Salish Sea is home to fishing, shipping and recreational industries – and a vital and vibrant ferry system that connects islands and communities across the water.
This sea is something most of us take for granted, at least until we realize how unique and fragile it is.
We see the water, but rarely consider the complexity and immensity of the web of life it supports.
Our cities are here because the water is here. Our port cities have access to the rest of the world.
As the Native peoples have taught us, if we take care of these waters, they will take care of us. Caring for the Salish Sea is the greatest gift we could give our children and grandchildren.
For a printable activity/coloring book for kids, you can print out a book on the Salish Sea here – http://staff.wwu.edu/stefan/SalishSea/NOAA_SS_activity_book.pdf.
You can see the history of the name and its “discovery” here – http://crosscut.com/2011/06/the-discovery-salish-sea/.