Buoy deployed in Bellingham Bay to chart health of Puget Sound

Oceanographers are now monitoring a special buoy they deployed Thursday in Bellingham Bay.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Oceanographers deployed a buoy in Bellingham Bay on Thursday that will chart the health of Puget Sound. It joins a half-dozen other buoys, but this is the only one in the north Puget Sound. It is equipped with several pieces of advanced technology that will monitor everything from salinity, temperature and weather changes.

It will help with ongoing research to track ocean acidification issues. The buoy takes readings every 10 minutes and will send data every hour.

The buoy's deployment and subsequent monitoring involves a partnership that includes the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction, the University of Washington, Western Washington University, Northwest Indian College through the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS).

The Lummi Nation has given a name to the buoy, Se'lhaem. Se'lhaem was an island located near the mouth of the Nooksack River that disappeared a while ago. It was important to the Lummi community as a place for harvesting butter clams, horse clams and cockles.

UW will work collectively with WWU and NWIC to maintain the buoy, with students from all three institutions working closely on the project.


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