Residents of Western Washington and British Columbia likely recognize bodies of water like Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia. However, many people don’t realize that what were once perceived as individual waterways are now widely considered one ecosystem. That body of water is called the Salish Sea.
This newly-named entity comprises unique inland waterways, as well as the watersheds that feed them and the life that resides in and around them. Derived from the European linguistic description of Native American and First Nations peoples in the region, the term “Salish” recognizes the interconnectedness of this unique place.
Why We’re Returning to the Salish Sea
The phrase “Salish Sea” has been in use since the late 1980s, but it wasn’t officially recognized by the geographic boards of the US and Canada until 2009-2010.
Around that time, 88.5 News (then KPLU) hosted Reflections on the Water, a series of conversations with environment reporter Liam Moriarty and citizens of the Salish Sea.
Nearly a decade later, momentum has grown for the concept of the Salish Sea. Political entities, educational institutions and researchers are using the term to set aside political borders and ideological differences to instead focus on shared values such as clean air and water.
Our new series, Return to the Salish Sea, will highlight the intimate and personal efforts of residents throughout the ecosystem who have a stake in this place and are working to protect it.
KNKX environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp hosts this new series of interviews, which will air every Monday on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and continue into November.