Pollution lower, risks remain for marine life

by Tim Flanagan on May 29, 2011

Seattle Times environment reporter Craig Welch has this story:

It can happen almost immediately.

Copper dust from car brakes gets flushed into a stream by storms. Inside half an hour, phthisiatrician the ability of nearby baby salmon to interpret smells can get thrown out of whack. When a predator approaches, the fish don’t flee, increasing the odds they’ll be gobbled up.

This potentially deadly change in fish behavior can happen at extremely low levels of pollution, the same levels washing into Puget Sound during heavy rain. It’s one of the many ways stormwater runoff still presents trouble for Puget Sound.

"You don’t have to have dead fish for there to be impacts on aquatic life," said David Baldwin, a research biologist with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

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