New rest-stop for seals installed off of Beach Drive SW

As a neighbor and I were tracking down the impending giant herd of pink salmon, we noticed that the old buoy off of Alki Point mysteriously disappeared while this new one near Lincoln Park magically appeared!


This new scientific research buoy installed by King County Natural Resources & Parks will be measuring all kinds of data regarding our local water quality.  A member of the water quality team kindly sent us this info:

A  new marine buoy was successfully deployed on July 30th off of Point Williams (West Seattle) in Central Puget Sound by staff of the King County Environmental Laboratory’s Field Science Unit. The buoy is anchored at a depth of approximately 550 feet.   An in situ water quality monitoring system is contained on the buoy and consists of water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, nitrate, and depth sensors that collect data measurements every 15-minutes. The sensors are suspended below the buoy at a depth of about 1 meter.  Data are sent via a cell-phone in near real-time to the County’s marine mooring webpage where the public can access the data.  The webpage can be found at

This in situ water quality monitoring system is one of four systems of this type that collect high temporal resolution data that are used to evaluate daily, and sometimes hourly, variability in Puget Sound marine waters.  The data are integrated into the County’s monthly marine monitoring program in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of marine water quality dynamics.


She also stated that this new and improved float is a replacement for the buoy that was located off of Alki Point. Apparently the Alki buoy had a pretty tough time weathering our recent winter storms. This new model is much beefier and will hopefully hang for it’s five year stint as stated on it’s Application for Use.


researchbouyThis photo from Natural Resources appears to be working with the old Alki buoy. The newer version off of Lincoln Park is said to be much easier to maintain “With the new and improved design, they just have to lift up a cable and change a connection—WAY better and safer.”


The nice folks at the DNR followed up with a live link to the science buoy:  He said “Just mouse over the green dot on the proper location and you will get the most up to date data.  Click on the dot and you can view graphs and download data. Note that the Seattle Aquarium unit provides very interesting data.  You can compare the 1 meter data to 10 meters, which often times shows huge discrepancies due to the fresh water coming out of the Duwamish River.”

 The gentleman that maintains the DNR buoys also wanted to leave his phone number (206-684-2323) if anyone notices if the light on top stops flashing or any other obvious damage that can lead to a navigational hazard. Boarding or approaching a state owned buoy too closely is illegal.

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

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