Those of us lucky enough to consider ourselves residents of the Puget Sound region rely on the Sound for its exceptional beauty, for recreation of many kinds, and for our economy. But besides the human residents, the fish and wildlife that call Puget Sound home rely on it for clean water and safe food.

An orca mom can’t do much to protect her calf against toxic chemicals, but you can help keep orcas and other Sound wildlife healthy by protecting the watershed. Here’s a list of tips to help keep toxic compounds out of Puget Sound!

  1. Buy local and organic.

Pesticides from conventional farming wash into streams and rivers, harming fish and the entire food web. Organic methods protect soil productivity and water quality, and locally-grown food travels fewer miles from the farm to your table.

  1. Choose safer cleaning and personal care products.

Whether it’s your dish soap, detergent, or shampoo, if it’s rinsed down the drain it may end up in the Sound! For cleaning products, you can make your own inexpensive cleaners, or buy safer brands like Seventh Generation. For personal care products, search www.cosmeticdatabase.com to find out what’s in your products and possible less-toxic alternatives.

  1. Watch what you toss.

Dispose of wastes like batteries, light bulbs, and paint properly. Check your local solid waste collection website for instructions and drop-off locations. Have old, unused medications? Instead of flushing them down the drain, take them back to participating pharmacies (www.takebackyourmeds.org).

  1. Pesticide free zone.

All that rain we get washes pesticides applied to your yard down into Puget Sound! Try mechanical and barrier methods to control pests and weeds. If you must use chemical methods, make sure to follow the directions exactly to avoid using more than necessary.

  1. Drive less.

Have a car? Minimize miles driven to help reduce road pollution by walking, biking, carpooling, or riding the bus. Make sure your vehicle is well-maintained and free of leaks.