E-Newsletter Articles

October 2013

Protections extended for giant Pacific octopuses in Puget Sound

giant Pacific octopus

Throughout 2013, the Seattle Aquarium collaborated with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) on the establishment of new protections for giant Pacific octopuses at seven popular dive sites around Puget Sound. Our efforts included participation on an advisory panel; hosting advisory panel meetings and a public workshop; providing expertise and data from our annual census of the species; networking with partners throughout the community; and providing outreach via our Beach Naturalist program and interpretation in our octopus exhibit.

Conservation Manager Mark Plunkett served on the 12-person advisory panel that provided input regarding the proposed protections. Panel members participated in several public meetings and reviewed comments from over 400 people. They also collaborated with partners in the SCUBA community, the Paul G. Allen Foundation, Seattle City Council and Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation.

In August, the WDFW Commission extended protections for giant Pacific octopuses in Puget Sound. Recreational harvest of the species is now prohibited at seven popular diving sites from Whidbey Island to Tacoma: Redondo Beach in Des Moines; Three Tree Point in Burien; Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2 and 3 near Alki Point in West Seattle; an area adjacent to the Les Davis Fishing Pier in Tacoma; the Alki Beach Junk Yard in West Seattle; the Days Island Wall in Tacoma; and Deception Pass north of Oak Harbor. Combined, the sites amount to over 1,300 acres of subtidal waters.

The Aquarium is pleased to have been a part of the effort to establish greater protection for giant Pacific octopuses in our local waters. Visit us to learn more about octopus conservation!

Aquarium’s use of Wi-Fi to further its mission featured in BizTech magazine

BizTech Fall 2013 cover

Just over two years ago, in a move to further its mission and enrich the guest experience, the Aquarium deployed Wi-Fi across its entire facility. The fall 2013 issue of BizTech magazine featured a front-page article about the deployment, how it has benefited our guests—and the potential for increasing those benefits in the future.

Due to their deep involvement in the project, Pam Lamon, the Aquarium’s web and social mediator coordinator, and Joe Lazar, its IT help desk lead II, were interviewed for the article. Says Pam, “Wireless has helped further our mission at the Aquarium because it allows us to use technology—such as iPads, Google+ and, eventually, wireless cams—to enhance the experience for visitors while they’re in our facility, as well as virtually. Wireless lets us continue the Aquarium experience online, and even reach people who haven’t visited us yet.” She notes that she’s received multiple comments via our social media accounts from people who plan to visit after seeing our sea otter cams and/or Google+ Hangouts on Air broadcasts.

The Aquarium is excited to develop more uses for wireless technology in the future. Comments Pam, “Wireless provides the infrastructure that we need to expand our use of technology and opens up a lot of possibilities.” She continues, “We want to be ranked as a world-class aquarium and as a leader in technology—the BizTech article helps position us that way and also has the potential to help us reach a larger audience than ever before.”

To request a copy of the article, email Christie Cotterill or call (206) 838-3907.

Q & A with Aquarium donor Lance Odermat

Lance Odermat

The Odermat family, owners of Brown Bear Car Wash, are very generous supporters of causes that promote conservation in our community. Recently we spoke with Lance to find out why conservation is so important to his family and their company.

Q: How did your family first become interested in water conservation?
A: Around 1990, a Seattle inspector came by one of our car wash sites and saw an employee hosing off the parking lot. He told us that the water was flowing into the storm drains; same as people who wash their car on the street or driveway. It struck a chord with us and gave us real pause. We thought of all the unregulated car washes in the area and wanted to help lead the way to a greener practice.

Q: Are there safe ways to wash your car at home?
A: We’ve found that each car generates about half a pound of residue or sludge. And that has to be disposed of properly, not to a landfill. We are testing technology to recycle water and vigilantly separate water into sanitary sewer versus storm drains. If you’re washing at home, it’s critical that the wash runoff not go into a storm drain as these eventually connect into local waterways. Washing on your lawn can help, but you still have to mindful of where the dirt, grime and chemicals that are washed off the vehicle will ultimately end up.

Q: What’s been your experience with the Aquarium?
A: I went to the Aquarium as a little kid and had great experiences that I’m now repeating with my kids. The Aquarium message is critically important—that we can all take action to help protect the beautiful marine environment that we’re so lucky to have here in the Northwest. As a company, we’re proud to support the Aquarium and advance that message.

Premier donor Halloween party promises to be a ghoulish good time

Halloween fun at the Seattle Aquarium

The Aquarium will host its annual Halloween party, exclusively for donors at the Otter Club level and above, on Thursday, October 24.

In addition to a Halloween-themed feast, guests will enjoy an underwater pumpkin carving demonstration, fun games, a costume parade, spine-chilling decorations and, of course, tricks and treats galore. Also this year: the return of the spooky path through our Pacific Coral Reef exhibit!

Invitations have been sent out—if you’re an Otter Club donor or above, watch for yours in the mail! To learn more about our premier donor clubs, visit our website. You can also email Christie Cotterill or call (206) 838-3907.

A message from our President & CEO

Bob Davidson

In late August, the wild salmon conservation group Long Live the Kings (LLTK) held the launch event for their new international research project in our own Puget Sound Hall. Presenters included Congressman Adam Smith, State Representative Ross Hunter, Pacific Salmon Foundation CEO Brian Riddell, WDFW Director Phil Anderson, NOAA Regional Administrator Will Stelle, Tulalip Tribes Fisheries and Natural Resources Commissioner Terry Williams, and Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Recovery Program Director Jeanette Dorner. It was an important and visible moment for the Seattle Aquarium—and another reinforcement that we are the region’s key forum for the dissemination of information related to marine conservation.

The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a joint effort between LLTK and Canada’s Pacific Salmon Foundation, aims to identify the leading causes of weak juvenile salmon and steelhead survival in the marine environment, which are currently not well understood.

This is a particularly timely effort—especially as it relates to Seattle’s central waterfront, where construction of the new seawall includes improvements that, it is hoped, will aid salmon migration. We look forward to supporting the efforts of LLTK and sharing the results of this important project with you and our visitors.