Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound

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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.

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.
Want to take a fun quiz about Puget Sound. Here’s one I created.

Upcoming talks (all virtual): 

May 11Jefferson County Historical Society and Port Townsend Marine Science Center – 7PM – I will be interviewed by the Science Center’s Program Manager Diane Quinn. Here’s a link to register for the program. 
May 13Words, Writers & SouthWest Stories – 6PM – Through the Loghouse Museum – I will be interviewed by Dora-Faye Hendricks, chair of this fun and interesting series.
May 19Browsers Bookshop – 6pm – Down in Olympia. Another virtual interview. I suspect we’ll focus on some South Sound stories. Sure to be fun. Scroll down to find information on my talk.
May 25King County Library System: Newcastle – 6pm – I will give a presentation about Homewaters. Co-sponsored by the Mercer Island Historical Society.
May 26Edmonds Bookshop – 6pm – I will be interviewed by my friend, the wonderful artist and author Tony Angell. Sure to be some good laughs. 
May 27Fort Nisqually Living History Museum –  7:00 PM – I will be interviewed by Tacoma Metro Parks Art, Culture, and Heritage Administrator Claire Keller-Scholz. 
June 1 – Salt Spring Island Conservancy, Transition Salt Spring, and Salt Spring Books –  I will be interviewed by my old pal Dave Secord. More details to come.
July 14North Cascades Institute – 6:00 p.m. – I will be interviewed by their education manager Molly Harrigan. Click on NCI link to register for the talk!!

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 


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