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Wildlife on the BrinkNorthwest
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regional quote
This is a land of giants, of mighty trees and endless ocean, cloud-veiled peaks and lightning-fast rivers. On closer inspection, though, the once-dense forests are thinning, and pollution and mismanagement are degrading waters that once brimmed with fish.
PUGET SOUND: Around the Canadian border, the Pacific Ocean reaches a salty arm down into Washington State, where its waters mix with inland rivers and form the rich estuary of Puget Sound. Orca chase salmon through the deep waters near the San Juan Islands; in the shallows, along the sound's labyrinthine 2,000 mile shoreline, tidal pools, marshes and wetlands support marine birds, fish and shellfish.
THE COLUMBIA RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES: The Columbia River and its larger tributaries, the Snake, Salmon, and Willamette rivers, are among the largest in the United States. Salmon and trout thrive in these cold, fast-moving montane waters, although their numbers are falling as their habitat is degraded by human interference.
OLD-GROWTH TEMPERATE RAINFORESTS: These ancient forests, found on the west side of the Cascade and Coast ranges, provide shelter for innumerable forest creatures in their thick, sturdy limbs, massive trunks, dense undergrowth and towering canopies. In havens like Olympic National Park in western Washington, nesting birds, salamanders and martens are just a few of the wildlife species that depend on the cool, moist protective habitat that only a dense forest of ancient trees can provide.
Photos: Olympic Park © Jeffrey Logan; chinook salmon © Roger Peters, USFWS; marbled murrelet © Gus Van Vliet, USFWS; orca © NOAA/Dept. of Commerce
Feature Home Print Version Alaska Northwest California Rockies/Prairie Southwest Midwest Southeast Northeast Hawaii International Chinook Salmon Marbled Murrelets Orca

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