Researchers

Jim Thomson

Principal Oceanographer

AIRS Department

APL-UW

Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Joe Talbert

Field Engineer II

AIRS Department

APL-UW

Alex de Klerk

Field Engineer I

AIRS Department

APL-UW

Carol Maloy

Project Manager

WA State Dept. of Ecology

Christopher Krembs

Scientist

WA State Dept. of Ecology

Shelia Helgath

Environmental Program Manager

WA State Ferries

Cotty Fay

Chief Naval Architect

WA State Ferries

Bill Hughes

Captain

WA State Ferries

Mark Scoville

Electrical Engineer

WA State Ferries

M. Burgos

Network Administrator

WA State Ferries

Partners

Enivronmental Protection Agency

WA State Dept. of Ecology

WA State Dept. of Transportation

Integral Consulting Inc.

Puget Sound Partnership

Ferry-Based Monitoring of Puget Sound Currents

This project is in collaboration with the Washington Department of Ecology, which has a mandate to understand water quality in Puget Sound. Part of understanding water quality is understanding where the water’s coming from.

By having our instruments on the ferries, now we can start to get a total estimate as to how much water is intruding at the bottom from the ocean and how much water is leaving at the top from the rivers and the freshwater outflow.

Research Objectives

To improve and calibrate water quality models that are being developed by the Washington State Dept. of Ecology to better understand and predict water quality throughout the Puget Sound, we will expand the ferry monitoring network to include public ferries run by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on the Port Townsend to Coupeville route. Installation of automated instruments to measure current velocities on select WSDOT vessels will allow us to record measurements continuously as ferries makes their multiple daily runs.

WSDOT ferries occupy strategic cross-sections in Puget Sound – often at the very constriction points between basins that would let us most easily measure water exchange and circulation between those basins. We need to understand the water quality condition, circulation, and exchange of water masses within and between natural sub-basins of Puget Sound, as well as exchange with the ocean, in order to manage water quality in Puget Sound (e.g., nutrient enrichment, low dissolved oxygen conditions, the transport of toxic chemicals, harmful algal blooms, and ocean acidification).

We are installing an instrument known as an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) on two ferries. These sensors, which primarily measure current velocities in a continuous transect along the ferry route, will provide unprecedented surface-to-bottom measurements of water-mass movement and transport between basins.

Research Bulletins aboard the Kennewick and Salish

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