POULSBO, Wash. (AP) — Just hours into the experiment, the prognosis was grim for salmon that had been submerged in rain runoff collected from one of Seattle’s busiest highways. One by one, the fish were removed from a tank filled with coffee-colored water and inspected: They were rigid. Their typically red gills were gray.
“He’s way dead,” David Baldwin, a research zoologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, declared at the four-hour mark.
This was the fate of coho salmon exposed to the everyday toxic brew of dirt, metals, oil and other gunk that washes off highway pavement after rains and directly into Puget Sound.