The Discovery Speaker Series will begin its new season Thursday with a program on road culverts and fish passages.
Presented by the South Sound Estuary Association, the series features local guest speakers addressing environmental topics that affect the Puget Sound area.
The series is one example of how the association tries to meet its goal of creating an educated community that is engaged and inspired to promote the ongoing health, conservation and restoration of Puget Sound, said executive director Sasha Medlen.
For Thursday’s session, Paul Wagner of the Washington State Department of Transportation will talk about fish passages under roadways. Road culverts were used in the past, but they have implications for salmon, water flow, pollution and tribal rights.
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This summer, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the treaty tribes in Washington, saying the state must repair culverts that block salmon from reaching spawning grounds. When culverts are too small, too clogged with debris or too high above the stream, salmon cannot get through them to reach spawning grounds upstream.
Wagner, the manager of the department’s biology branch, said following the court’s decision that the department has already fixed 23 culverts in the case area and had plans to correct another 20 during the summer.
Co-hosted by the Washington Foundation for the Environment, this week’s free program will begin at 6:30 p.m. with time for refreshments and socializing. The programs typically run from 7-8:30 p.m. on third Thursdays. They are offered monthly through April, except in December.
The programs are held at LOTT’s WET Science Center, 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia.
For more information, go to sseacenter.org.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
The rest of the Discovery Speaker Series
Nov. 17: “Shoreline Armoring and Shoreline Monitoring Toolbox” with Jason Toft of the University of Washington.
Jan. 19: “Geology and Glacial History” by Wendy Gerstel, owner of Qwg Applied Geology.
Feb. 16: “Environmental Programs at the Port of Olympia” by Rachael Jamison, director of environmental studies for the Port of Olympia.
March 16: “Puget Sound Derelict Fishing Gear Project” by Jason Morgan, a marine biologist with Northwest Straits Foundation.
April 20: “Are native Olympia oysters making a comeback?” by Bonnie Becker, associate professor of marine ecology, University of Washington.