Seattle, Washington Jun 07, 2010

New Interactive Mapsite Shows Water Quality Concerns in Puget Sound Area

Seattle WA:  Is it safe to swim? Can we eat the fish?  Where have oil spills occurred? What about toxic cleanup sites, combined sewer discharges, salmon runs and shellfish areas? Puget Soundkeeper Alliance has unveiled a new interactive mapsite to allow the public to view these water quality and habitat concerns throughout the Puget Sound region. The interactive map can be viewed at

Created in partnership with Vertices, LLC of New Brunswick, NJ, the How Clean Is Your Water? interactive mapping tool allows users to see water pollution sources, water quality assessments, critical habitats and impacts to other natural resources.

“It’s one- stop shopping for a general overview of Puget Sound water quality, marine life impacts and environmental health” said Chris Wilke, pollution prevention Director of the Seattle non-profit organization Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. “This mapping tool allows people to see impacts to resources in the places that matter to them most.”
Based on a successful outreach tool unveiled last year, the new site is more user-friendly and for the first time adds the capabilities of Google Maps to allow the public to precisely locate areas of concern to them.

“We are committed to assisting the environmental community in developing their mapping technology” said Dr. Wansoo Im, president of the Vertices, LLC which developed the mapping tool through its IM Rivers program. “This new mapping system for Puget Sound is our latest and best technology”.  The firm has a long history of partnership with environmental groups and government agencies.  Vertices provided this re-development as a one-time grant offered in December 2009.

The central concept of the project is to better educate Puget Sound residents about water quality.  Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is concerned about research that shows a majority of people still believe that Puget Sound is healthy.  “They walk on the beach, see a beautiful sunset and assume all is well” adds Wilke. “A lot of the outreach you see focuses on behavior change like not washing your car on the street, or picking up after your dog.  This project shows people why all of this important, and what we may lose if we don’t succeed”.

The research Wilke refers to is from the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency tasked with coordinating Puget Sound Recovery by 2020. The Partnership also provided funding for PSA’s work in the development of the public web-based mapping tool and a more advanced version that is used in public presentations.

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance presents the tool in three ways: through live presentations to community  groups, through remote interactive displays at community events, and online via the website. A “What Can I Do?” section links people to a Puget Sound Watersheds Pledge so that they can put their knowledge into action.

Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Seattle, WA: 206-297-7002, (insert link: mailto )
Dr. Wansoo Im, Vertices, LLC.  New Brunswick, NJ: 732-418-9135,: (insert link: mailto