September was an exciting month for members of the Pacific Northwest REEF Advanced Assessment Team (AAT). Expert Level surveyors (Levels 4 and 5) assisted with the annual Salish Sea monitoring project. This year’s effort was focused in the southern Salish Sea - South Puget Sound in Washington. The project, now in its 8th year, is conducted in partnership with UC Davis’ SeaDoc Society, and also includes sites in the San Juan Islands and islands off Vancouver, British Columbia.

During the four-day project, 13 REEF volunteer divers monitored select sites of varying habitat types, including walls, rocky reefs, clay and sandstone areas, and kelp beds throughout southern Puget Sound, conducting 48 surveys. The weather alternated between sunny skies, rainstorms, wind and chop, and calm seas. Water temperatures were about 55°F.

This long-term monitoring project helps ensure data are available to document shifts and changes in populations and community structure as well as cataloging biological diversity. REEF data from the Pacific Northwest region have been used in numerous scientific publications and have been incorporated in several policy decisions on species from rockfish to octopus. Visit to see all publications that include REEF data.

Thank you to the REEF Advanced Assessment Team members who volunteered their time to make this project possible, including Doug Miller, Ed Gullekson, Lorne Curran, Rhoda Green, Claude Nichols, Joe Gaydos, Ellie Place, Carol Cline, Gregg Cline, Edgar Graudins, Tabitha Jacobs-Mangiafico and Don Noviello, plus project leader and REEF staff member Janna Nichols. We also want to say a big thank you to Rick and Jackie Myers of Bandito Charters in Tacoma, Washington, who provided field support, hot soup, and friendly assistance.