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Every fall more than half of the coho salmon that return to Puget Sound’s urban streams die before they can spawn. In some streams, all of them die. But scientists didn’t know why. Now a team led by researchers at the University of Washington, UW, and Washington State University Puyallup have discovered the answer.


Current Research at the Center

Stormwater runoff is precipitation that picks up pollutants from the air and from impervious surfaces like building materials and roadways. This water usually flows untreated into water bodies, including salmon-bearing streams and Puget Sound.

We know that aquatic organisms are exposed to stormwater intermittently. Exposure to stormwater during a single rainstorm can cause acute mortality in some organisms, while in others we are concerned primarily with sub-lethal impacts that may add over time from repeated exposures.

Research at the Washington Stormwater Center is focused on two main threads: 1) impacts from stormwater on aquatic organisms and 2) effectiveness of treatment technologies – primarily green stormwater infrastructure.

Check out our 2023 Research Updates or our Research Projects page to see everything we’re up to!

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