Inland Waters in Washington State and Britich Columbia Now Known as the Salish Sea

BELLINGHAM, Wash., Nov. 13 (UPI) — The U.S. Board of Geographic Names says inland waters residing in the state of Washington and British Columbia, Canada, will now be called the Salish Sea.

The (Portland) Oregonian reported Friday the board officially approved the name for the coastal waters Thursday, more than 20 years after it was proposed by retired Western Washington University Professor Bert Webber.

Salish Sea is in reference to the American Indian and First Nations people who lived in Washington and British Columbia and were collectively known as Coast Salish. The name, which was accepted by Washington and British Columbia, embodies the Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Georgia Strait.

Webber, who was a marine ecology professor at the Washington university, said the name change should help in the movement to highlight problems like over-fishing currently threatening inland waters.

“If we are going to be successful in reversing the decline of the ecosystem, we need to focus on more than the individual bodies of water that make up the whole,” Webber said “It is a way of understanding our home better than we used to.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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