The Salish Sea—an inland sea—is one of the most biologically diverse inland waterways in the world. Geographically it stretches from north of Vancouver, Canada to south of Seattle, Washington. The Salish Sea encompasses the coastal waterways of the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca—including the waters around the Canadian Gulf Islands and US San Juan Islands— and into Puget Sound.

It’s fed by an enormous watershed, with snowmelt and rainfall from the region’s mountains channeled into some of the most important salmon rivers of British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon, and Idaho. The Salish Sea meets the Pacific Ocean west of Vancouver Island and the northern tip of Washington State.

The Salish Sea is designated as “critical habitat” for the Southern Resident Killer Whales due to the many months they fish for salmon in these “inland” waters each year. It’s bisected by the border between the US and Canada, but as salmon and killer whales know no boundaries, it’s an important and appropriate way to recognize that this is an entire ecosystem, and should be managed as such.

The name “Salish Sea” was first used in 1988 to describe this region; a name in direct acknowledgment of the Coast Salish people — WSÁNEĆ Nations, with traditional lands and territories in coastal British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.