When rain falls in undeveloped areas, the water is absorbed and filtered by soil and plants. But in built-up cities like Seattle, the water washes over roofs, roads and pavements, picking up a cocktail of pollutants on its way: petrol, tyre particles, heavy metals, pesticides and even animal excrement. Most of it ends up passing directly into the Puget Sound, transforming the city’s waterway into a toxic home for marine life.

Jennifer McIntyre.

Jen McIntyre, assistant professor in the School of the Environment and a leading aquatic ecotoxicologist at Washington State University, explains why coho salmon are an important sentinel for the dangerous impacts of stormwater.

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