Feds help finance new ocean, fisheries station in Mukilteo

MUKILTEO — State-of-the-art scientific research is tough to do in former Air Force barracks.

The lineage of the 70-year old waterfront building can be seen in the humble, wooden structure that serves as home to the Mukilteo Research Station, a federal center focused on ocean and fishery issues.

It’s beset with sloping floors and a foundation whose temporary supports are only expected to last about another four years.

Good news for the scientists who work there came buried in the depths of the latest federal government’s budget — a $4.6 million down payment for a new building.

Plans call for a $33 million, 26,000-square-foot building that could open in 2020.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, who announced the approval of the money, said the $4.6 million will pay for design and environmental work for the new research station, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The new building will be constructed adjacent to the existing building.

Paul McElhany, station chief at the research station, said even after the federal budget was approved, the proposal had to pass muster with another review by NOAA.

When that hurdle was cleared, scientists didn’t waste time. He and several coworkers traveled to Juneau, Alaska, to tour the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute, a marine research lab built a decade ago.

They looked for ideas they might be able to include in planning the new Mukilteo building.

The building’s seawater pumping and temperature controls were of special interest.

“I have a lot of pictures of plumbing — kind of boring,” McElhany said.

But critical in experiments.

Mukilteo pumps about 200 gallons of seawater a minute to use for experiments. The new building will have about triple that capacity, he said.

Scientists are researching topics such as the effects of the ocean’s increasing acidity on sea life. They also are working to restore what was once a thriving supply of native pinto abalone in the nearby San Juan Islands. The abalone were driven to the edge of extinction by overharvesting.

The new building will allow scientists to conduct more complicated research than now possible.

For example, NOAA scientists researched some of the environmental impacts on fish species caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010, he said.

The current building’s age and other factors don’t allow that type of sophisticated work to be conducted. It’s an example of the type of exacting research that could be accomplished in the new building, he said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Sherman Pruitt 2020
Edmonds mayor picks Sherman Pruitt to be next police chief

He currently serves as chief of police for the Sauk-Suiattle Police Department near Darrington.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Snohomish County Jail employee charged in drug smuggling

Alexis Wafstet was charged with drug possession. Several inmates were allegedly in on the plot.

Linda Redmon
Snohomish council leader announces early for mayor campaign

City Councilmember Linda Redmon is the first to file in the race. Mayor John Kartak has not said if he will run again.

Break on surface water fee means less money for environment

The Snohomish County Council voted to nix an annual fee increase that funds preservation work.

Pair of Nikes leads to bank robbery arrest in south Everett

The suspect allegedly took $1,000 in cash from a KeyBank. He was found a few blocks away.

Man, 80, who died in hit-and-run near Lynnwood identified

Jung K. Moon was on the sidewalk when he was struck by a pickup truck. The driver has been arrested.

Deputies: Armed man dressed as cop attacks man near Everett

The suspect allegedly wore police badges and aimed a gun at a man after pushing him to the ground.

Sarah Calvo pours icing on to a cinnamon roll at the Maltby Cafe while Kylie King checks take out orders on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 in Maltby, Washington. A GoFundMe fundraising page continues to grow, raising more than $80,000 from 1,200 people in just a few days. Owners Tana Baumler and Sandra Albright thought they were going to closed before the website donations made them pause their decision. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Miracle in Maltby: Community support saves small-town cafe

Owners of the Maltby Cafe feared closure, but a wave of business and donations has thwarted the end.

16,000 fentanyl pills, pounds of meth, heroin seized in bust

Eight suspects were indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle, including five from Snohomish County.

Most Read