Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound

Screen Shot 2020-08-31 at 4.31.23 PM

1. Bookshop.org
2. Through me (includes signature.) 


Published in Spring 2021 by the University of Washington Press. I was honored to receive a 4Culture Heritage Special Projects grant and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture CityArtists Project grant to work on this book in 2018.

An outstanding review in Post Alley by Dan Chasan.
A fun interview about the book on Crosscut.
An interview with Steve Scher for In the Moment from Town Hall.
An interview with Feliks Banel for My Northwest on KIRO.
An interview with Patricia Murphy for Seattle Now on KUOW.
An excerpt from Homewaters in the Seattle Times.
Want to take a fun quiz about Puget Sound. Here’s one I created.

Upcoming talks:  (Please check back to confirm that events are taking place. Everything is in flux right now. Thanks for your understanding.)
December 4Foss Waterway Seaport – 11am – I will be talking about Homewaters with Foss’s Director of Education and Community Engagement Julia Berg. In person.
January 8 – Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12, Edmonds – I will be talking about Puget Sound as a maritime highway at the annual Change of Watch ceremony.
January 11 – SWERV (Savvy Women Exchanging Relevant Views) – I will be talking about Homewaters. Perhaps in person?
January 12 – Women’s University Club (Seattle) – I will be talking about Homewaters. Perhaps in person?
January 13Mukilteo Historical Society – I will be talking about Homewaters. Perhaps in person?
February 5Sound Waters University – I will be talking about Homewaters and hope. More info to come.
February 10Wild Society – I will be speaking about Homewaters as part of their 2022 Winter Speaker Series. More info to come.

Possessing the features of both a fjord and an estuary, Puget Sound is ecologically unique with its great depth, great diversity, and tremendous productivity. It is home for clams that live for 150 years, more than 250 species of fish, great, teeming schools of herring, and underwater forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. It has tideflats that have provided a bounty of food for thousands of years, intertidal zones that may have the longest continuous use by humans of any regional habitat, and species such as salmon and orca that are as integral to the human inhabitants as to the more than human inhabitants. But Puget Sound ecosystems have also suffered from human behavior including shoreline armoring, overfishing, toxin and pollutant runoff, habitat destruction, and climate change-induced chemical and temperature changes.

These impacts result from two centuries of post-settlement mindset, which held that Puget Sound and its surroundings were an abundant resource to be exploited. In the past couple of decades, however, we have entered an era of unprecedented understanding of the nature of this beautiful place. Numerous agencies and scientists are working to regulate fishing, control pollutants, and manage the land and water. Puget Sound may not be as healthy as when George Vancouver became the first European to visit the waterway in 1792, but it is now viewed more as a prized ecosystem than a utilitarian one and in many ways exemplifies our modern connection to the natural world.

My goal is to illuminate relationships between people and environment, past and present, and natural landscapes and altered ones. How does this place we call Puget Sound impact those who live here? How do our actions affect Puget Sound and its inhabitants? Each chapter weaves personal observations, field time, discussions with experts, and examination of historical and recent documents to tell stories that help answer these questions. Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound is my interpretation of a unique set of environmental and historical conditions and opportunities; it is just one of many stories that could be written.

Author’s Note
Chapter 1 – Birth of a Name
Chapter 2 – Birth of a Place
Chapter 3 – Peopling Puget Sound
Chapter 4 – Defending the Sound
Chapter 5 – The Maritime Highway
Chapter 6 – Seaweeds in the Sound (Kelp)
Chapter 7 – The Silver Wave (Herring)
Chapter 8 – Old Fish and New Laws (Rockfish)
Chapter 9 – The Table is Set (Shellfish)
Chapter 10 – Homebodies (Salmon and Orca)

Here are a few articles I have written that relate to the book.

  • GeoducksHuman history – Encylopedia of Puget Sound
    HerringHuman History – Encyclopedia of Puget Sound
    The Strait of Juan de FucaHistory – HistoryLink.org
    Vancouver Names Puget’s SoundHistory – HistoryLink.org
    Hudson’s Bay Company Builds Fort NisquallyHistory – HistoryLink.org
    SS Beaver, 1st Steamer in Puget SoundHistory – Historylink.org
  • Modern Human Attempts at Using KelpHistory – Historylink.org

Here are two links to a talk at MOHAI I did related to the book.  Puget Sound: A Maritime Highway.

Audio – SoundCloud 

Audio/Video – YouTube 


3 thoughts on “Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound”

  1. David
    Loved your talk through Sno-Isle library yesterday. I’m also enjoying reading your book, Homewaters, and look forward to reading some of your other titles. I’m also looking forward to your upcoming book on the fossils and geology of Washington. I’m the assistant education officer for the Seattle division of the National Sail and Power Squadron. We are an organization of boaters in the area and I am hoping you might be willing to do your presentation at one of our dinner meetings. They occur the third Thursday evening of each month and we would be looking At February of 2022 or a later date if that would work better for you. Ruth Martin from the Burke Museum has only wonderful things to say about you.
    Rocky Mazzeo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *