Salish Sea

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Map of the Salish Sea & Surrounding Basin, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2009

The Salish Sea consists of the coastal waterways surrounding southern Vancouver Island and Puget Sound between Canada and the United States of America. Its major bodies of water are the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound and reaches from Desolation Sound at the north end of the Strait of Georgia to Budd Inlet at the south end of Puget Sound. The north portion of the Salish Sea is in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC), while the southern portion is in the U.S. state of Washington. The inland waterways of the Salish Sea are separated from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula and are protected from the Pacific Ocean storms. Major port cities on the Salish Sea include Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria.

The name Salish Sea is officially recognized in both the United States and Canada. It was approved by the United States in 2009 and by Canada in 2010.

The first known use of the term Salish Sea was in 1988, when marine biologist Bert Webber from Bellingham, Washington created the name for the combined waters in the region with the intent to supplement the Georgia Strait, Puget Sound, and Strait of Juan de Fuca waterway names. The adoption of the term, he said, would raise consciousness about taking care of the region's waters and ecosystems. Webber's efforts are credited with the official recognition of the term in the US and Canada, although Webber's original proposal also recommended the removal of the terms Georgia Strait, Puget Sound, and Strait of Juan de Fuca from official recognition.

(from Wikipedia; Salish Sea)


  • Dr. Aquila Flower affiliated WWU Huxley Spatial Institute has been compiling spatial data base layers to better describe the Salish Sea as an integrated ecosystem.