Lowest Puget Sound tides in years a bonanza for biologists

TACOMA, Wash. — More than four extra feet of Puget Sound beaches were exposed Wednesday by some of the lowest daytime tides in years, giving biologists an opportunity to explore sea bottoms that they hadn't seen in more than 20 years.

Marine ecologist Bonnie Becker, a University of Washington Tacoma assistant professor, said Wednesday's noontime lows were expected to draw the Sound down lower than any daylight tides have since June 1986. Daytime tides won't drop this far again until June 2022, she said.

"It’s been close, but it hasn't been quite this low," Becker said Tuesday. "I have to work tomorrow, but I should play hooky and check it out."

Thursday's low tide will be almost as low as Wednesday's.

"This is a very rare opportunity to look through a window you don't ever get to see," said biologist and teacher Alan Rammer. "I personally have never been on this beach in a minus 4-foot tide," he said, calling the low tides "all new adventures for me."

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