Puget Sound is one of The Nature Conservancy's priority conservation areas in Washington. It's the cultural and economic heart of our state, home to more than 3.6 million people.
The Sound is also one of the most productive places in the region, teeming with activity both under water and on the shores. Our scientists say there is more biological diversity here than anywhere else in Washington, including more than 7,000 species of animals, birds, fish and plants. Impressed? There's more.
We've compiled five fun facts about beautiful Puget Sound, where support from members like you is helping us find ways for people to live in balance with nature.
5 Fun Facts About Puget Sound
- Puget Sound is the second largest estuary in the nation, second only to Chesapeake Bay. An estuary is a place where freshwater flows into the sea.
- Puget Sound and the rivers that flow into it produce more salmon than any other place in our state (including the Columbia River).
- Puget Sound is four times more productive than the ocean for producing plankton, the tiny sea creatures that are the foundation of the natural food web here.
- It is estimated more than 100 million geoducks (pronounced “GOO-ee-duck”) live in the mud near the shores of Puget Sound. Geoducks are big clams – they are the largest bivalve in Puget Sound and the largest burrowing clam in the world. Most of a geoduck's body, which can be a meter long, lives outside its shell. A geoduck can live for more than 140 years, making it one of the longest-lived animals in the world!
- Some of the world's largest sharks swim in the depths of Puget Sound. Primitive sixgill sharks can be up to 14 feet long in the Sound. They are usually found in deep waters of several hundred to several thousand feet – but in Puget Sound they sometimes come closer to the surface. [Bonus Fact: At its deepest, Puget Sound reaches 930 feet below the surface; its average depth is 450 feet.]