Stormwater and Salmon

Jenifer McIntyre is an Aquatic Ecotoxicologist working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Puyallup Research and Extension Center for Washington State University. She is passionate about science that brings about change.

In 1997, her BS in Environmental Biology at Queen’s University led to the ban of a pulp mill effluent used as a road dust suppressant. She continued her education and in 2004, received a Master's from the University of Washington on contaminant bioaccumulation that led the Washington State Department of Health to issue a fish consumption advisory for several fishes in Lake Washington. Her Ph.D. research in 2010 at UW on olfactory neurotoxicity of copper in coho salmon helped pass legislation in Washington and California that phases out copper and other metals in brake pads.

Jen’s current work focuses on the ecotoxicology of stormwater runoff and the biological effectiveness of green stormwater infrastructure.

Saving salmon in the wild – is chum the king? WSU News

PUYALLUP, Wash. – Chum rule. In the same toxic stormwater brew that killed coho salmon in less than three hours, their chum cousins did just fine.

It’s a king-sized mystery that Washington State University researcher Dr. Jenifer McIntyre is trying to solve. The answer, she said, will tell an important story...

Read the full article by Linda Weiford, WSU News

2016 Washington State University Innovators Series -- Stormwater detox

Watch Dr Jenifer McIntyre's amazing work on the effects of stormwater on salmon.

Produced by WSU UComm Video Services.

For more information on the Innovators Series, please visit the Innovators Lecture Series from Washington State University.

Scientists who showed how copper damages salmon’s sense of smell receive prestigious award

It’s always beautiful when scientific discovery leads directly to concrete changes in environmental policy.

Such was the case with a team of scientists who will be honored by the SeaDoc Society on Friday for having demonstrated how copper damages salmon’s sense of smell. Their work led to legislation that removed copper from car brake pads in Washington State...

Read the full article on how Dr Jenifer McIntyre received her award at the 2016 Salish Sea Ecological Conference, by Justin Cox, Seadoc Society.

In October, 2015, WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center held  a press conference highlighting research by NOAA, USFWS, and Dr. Jenifer McIntyre

The paper was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology on October 8, 2015. Read the paper!

Below are news announcements from the conference.

Toxic Road Runoff Kills Adult Coho Salmon in Hours, Study Finds

A new study shows that stormwater runoff from urban roadways is so toxic to coho salmon that it can kill  adult fish in as little as 2½ hours.
But the research by Seattle scientists also points to a relatively easy fix: Filtration through a simple, soil-based system...

Read the full article by Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times science reporter.

Study Identifies Stormwater Runoff Threat Among Coho Salmon
A new study has taken a look at the potential effects of stormwater runoff from urban roadways to determine that this could result in poisoning of the habitat for coho salmon. Of course, this has thus been shown to kill adult fish in less than three hours.
The good news, though, is that scientists—from Seattle—also point out that there may be a relatively easy fix: filtration of the water through a simple, soil-based system...

Read the full article full article by Deborah Grace, from Pioneer News.

Endangered Coho Salmon Choke On Urban Runoff; Simple Filtration Could Save Them
Rain water that beats down on paved highways or parking lots can't penetrate into the soil and ultimately has to find someplace else to go. On its way, this stormwater runoff collects pollutants such as oil, dirt, lawn fertilizers and other chemicals – dangerous toxins that researchers have linked to the decline of adult coho salmon populations in urban streams along the U.S. West Coast. But there may be some good news, according to a new study...

Read the full article by Samantha Mathewson, from Nature World News.

Urban Runoff Killing Coho Salmon, but Simple Solution Within Reach
Toxic runoff from highways, parking lots and other developed surfaces is killing many of the adult coho salmon in urban streams along the West Coast, according to a new study that for the first time documents the fatal connection between urban stormwater and salmon survival.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-10-urban-runoff-coho-salmon-simple.html#jCp
Toxic runoff from highways, parking lots and other developed surfaces is killing many of the adult coho salmon in urban streams along the West Coast, according to a new study that for the first time documents the fatal connection between urban stormwater and salmon survival.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-10-urban-runoff-coho-salmon-simple.html#jCp
Toxic runoff from highways, parking lots and other developed surfaces is killing many of the adult coho salmon in urban streams along the West Coast, according to a new study that for the first time documents the fatal connection between urban stormwater and salmon survival...

Read the full article by Phys.org.

Filtered Stormwater Added to Annual Coho Salmon Experiment
Rain gardens filter toxic chemical contaminants from stormwater before it flows into Puget Sound streams, but no one knows how well they protect the salmon that spawn in those streams.
That was this year’s question during the annual coho salmon stormwater experiment at the Suquamish Tribe’s Grovers Creek Hatchery.
Since 2011, tribal, federal and state scientists have been studying how salmon are affected by stormwater before they spawn...

Read the full article by the Northwest Treaty Tribes.

Urban Runoff Killing Coho Salmon, but Simple Solution Within Reach
Toxic runoff from highways, parking lots and other developed surfaces is killing many of the adult coho salmon in urban streams along the West Coast, according to a new study that for the first time documents the fatal connection between urban stormwater and salmon survival.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the same study published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology also found that inexpensive filtration of urban runoff through simple columns of sand and soil can completely prevent the toxic effects on fish...

Read the full article by SeaGrant Washington.

Filtering Stormwater Can Save Coho
The mystery of why highway runoff is killing coho salmon hasn’t been solved, but scientists say they at least have a solution...

Read the full article by Tristan Baurick from the Kitsap Sun.

Sustainability Ambassadors: Toxics in Stormwater Pollution

Dr. Jenifer McIntyre, Research Scientist with the WSU Stormwater Center, describes the current science on the toxic chemicals entering Puget Sound from polluted storm water runoff with a focus on the susceptibility of aquatic animals like salmon. Current research on rain garden soil filtration points to solutions for reducing these toxics, leaving cleaner water with less impact on fish. Watch her video here.

WSU Puyallup's Dr. Jennifer McIntyre's research is highlighted in the NY Times

Storm runoff can be toxic to aquatic life, but a new study suggests a simple and relatively inexpensive solution: Filter the water through dirt before it enters streams, rivers or the ocean.

Researchers collected runoff from a busy four-lane highway in Seattle during six storms in 2011 and 2012. They tested the toxicity of water from the first five storms and found that coho salmon fry could not survive in it, nor could the mayfly and water flea larvae they feed on.

PBS Video on Research looking at the effects of stormwater runoff on fish

As part of the Low Impact Development (LID) research now underway at the Washington State University (WSU) Puyallup Research and Extension site, a science team, led by Jenifer McIntyre, is exploring the use of LID soils and plants to filter stormwater runoff.  The team is a joint collaboration between WSU, the US Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.  Dr. McIntyre is a postdoctoral research associate at WSU Puyallup.
 
An initial report on the project was given at the 2012 WSU LID Research Program Annual Review.  When finished, results of this study will be disseminated to the scientific community and the public through a series of reports, peer-reviewed papers, the Washington Stormwater Center web site, and LID annual reviews held at WSU Puyallup. The results will give valuable data on the effectiveness of the most widely used LID technique (bioretention) to improve water quality and protecting receiving waters.
 
In a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting on October 17,2012, the work at the Washington Stormwater Center was highlighted in an interview with Dr. McIntyre. The article and associated video story can be found at: http://earthfix.opb.org/water/article/drained-how-we-got-into-such-a-mess-with-stormwate/
   

Salmon and Stormwater

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