We are so excited to have the Seattle Times’ Erica Pandey and photographer Steve Ringman on board King County’s new environmental research vessel – SoundGuardian – today as it makes its first official Puget Sound marine monitoring run and begins its mission to protect regional water quality.
The new 48-foot vessel is used by field scientists at the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks to collect samples in Puget Sound, Lake Washington and the Duwamish River. It will also be used to respond to environmental emergencies, such as illegal spills and dumping, toxic algae bloom, fish kills and beach erosion. Along with monitoring local bodies of water for pollution, field scientists collect and analyze data to study trends in water temperature, which contributes to King County’s effort to confront climate change.
Members of the band Soundgarden helped King County dedicate the new vessel in June.
The SoundGuardian replaces The Liberty, an outdated vessel that has been in service since 1977. The twin-hull vessel – built by local shipbuilders – is more fuel efficient and easier to navigate in choppy waters, which is critical during environmental emergencies. It will also increase productivity by enabling field scientists to conduct more research in a shorter amount of time.