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April 12: WSU expert to speak about stormwater pollution

By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

innovators-salmon-webSEATTLE – Washington State University aquatic ecotoxicologist Jenifer McIntyre will share her research on the lethal impacts of stormwater for fish as well as solutions that are within reach.

The WSU Innovators Lecture Series, “Stormwater detox: How natural infrastructure can help save salmon,” will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront in Seattle. The lecture is free to the public. Visit to register.

WSU’s Jenifer McIntyre.

Stormwater runoff is the number one source of pollution affecting Puget Sound and is a leading source of pollution in the Columbia River and many other bodies of waters in the state. Untreated runoff can be lethal to salmon in a matter of hours.

“Urban stormwater runoff carries a complex mixture of chemicals into fish habitats,” said McIntyre, who is based at the WSU Research and Extension Center in Puyallup, Wash. “We have seen that stormwater runoff can kill adult coho salmon in urban creeks, and we know that it can cause defects in the hearts of developing fish.”

Stormwater pollution harms the health of fish, shellfish and marine mammals that depend on clean water. It can make Puget Sound unfit for swimming, recreation, shellfish harvesting and tribal, recreational and commercial fisheries.

“The research we are conducting helps us understand the scope of the problem of urban stormwater runoff and the choices available to us to reduce its impacts on our aquatic ecosystem,” McIntyre said. “I hope that by learning where the toxicity in urban runoff is coming from we can also help reduce the impact of urban pollution on human health.”


Ann Goos, WSU strategic communications specialist, 206-465-5136,



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