See Unusual Water or Sea Stars? Report it

Request For Your Assistance

Background:  As part of our SoundToxins protocol, we take saltwater samples to monitor for potentially harmful algae – primarily those that can produce toxins that are harmful to human health. This is done weekly or biweekly depending on the season.  

Algae blooms can be harmful in numerous other ways. A large bloom can deplete the water of oxygen when phytoplankton die, and decomposition occurs. An example of this may have occurred on Sept 8, 2022, on Madrona Beach on Camano Island. The surrounding shallow water was light brown and foamy. Sea stars were detached from the rocks and floating and often ventral side up. We forwarded photographs to sea star experts. While they do not believe this was a Sea Star Wasting Disease event, they suggested the sea stars may have been stressed due to low dissolved oxygen resulting from a diatom bloom.

We want to investigate events like this. We requested and were funded for a dissolved oxygen testing kit and pH test kit. We are prepared to collect data on unusual events that may occur on Camano.

Request: Please contact Paulette Brunner and Julie Wage if you observe on Camano Island:

  1. unusual sea star or fish observations along the beach – multiple creatures that appear dead or dying or otherwise have unusual behavior, and/or
  2. off-color saltwater (with or without unusual creatures)

A few caveats:

  • Only saltwater events only and only on Camano.
  • We are not looking for events with just a couple of creatures, we’re looking for bigger events.
  • We are probably not looking for bird or mammal events – but if you are unsure, text!
  • Water may just be mucky or brown with pollen and other land debris and not have low dissolved oxygen. We just don’t know what we might find so we will collect data to better understand our marine environment.

How Do You Report Observations?

  1. Text both Paulette and Julie: provide description, location, and photos. Please text when you see the event, not a day or two later – dissolved oxygen and other parameters will change in collected samples – we can only obtain accurate dissolved oxygen data from freshly pulled water samples.
  2. Take photographs of what you have observed. Most photos on a cell phone will have a date and time stamp and we can look up the tide data later.
  3. If one of us is available we’ll grab the test kits from Cama Beach and come by asap and do the DO sampling, etc. and take a water sample to review later.
  4. If neither of us is available, please take a water sample (1/2-1 cup max) in a clear glass jar. Keep it in a cool dark place. We will come by and pick it up as soon as we’re available.

We will look at water samples under the microscope and see what is in the water. Interesting findings will be reported in this SWS news column.

Julie  206-409-8606; Paulette 206-618-5300     


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