Coastal Café

Western Flyer

(First airdate: April 14, 2021) This edition of Coastal Cafe is a discussion with the Executive Director of the Western Flyer Foundation, Chris Chase, about the history, restoration, and future of the historic fishing vessel Western Flyer. As the backdrop for John Steinbeck’s Log of the Sea of Cortez, Chris discusses the important role this vessel has, and will have in strengthening the connection between art and science.

Puget Sound Pilots

(First airdate: March 31, 2021) For over 150 years, the Puget Sound Pilots have been guiding the largest ships in the world through our waters and safely to the dock.  Their expertise has produced an unparalleled safety record of more than 200,000 sailings over the last 25 years without a major incident. Join us as host MaryAnn Wagner interviews Captain Eric von Brandenfels to find out how the Puget Sound Pilots do their important work and what it takes to be a Pilot. 

Port of PT Update

(First airdate: March 17, 2021) Today Coastal Cafe talked with Eron Berg, the Executive Director of the Port of Port Townsend. Eron gives updates on some of the Port’s ongoing and emerging priorities such as the breakwaters at Point Hudson and the Boat Haven as well as infrastructure improvements at the boatyard and Quilcene.

WA Boating Law Updates for 2021

(First airdate: March 3, 2021) This episode of Coastal Cafe is an update on the latest policy changes impacting recreational boating in Washington. Washington’s boating law administrator, Rob Sendak and host Aaron Barnett discuss personal floatation devices, human powered vessels, legislative activity, pumpouts, and the No Discharge Zone.

NAS Whidbey Cleanup Challenges

(First airdate: February 17, 2021) This week’s Coastal Cafe is a fascinating discussion with the Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Captain Matt Arny. Captain Arny and host Aaron Barnett talk about NAS Whidbey Island’s history and it’s legacy of contamination from training ordnance, petroleum products, and fire fighting materials. Listen and learn how the US Navy and Department of Defense have been cleaning things up at their installations.

DEI in the Salish Sea

(First airdate: February 3, 2021) Join Coastal Café host MaryAnn Wagner as she interviews two marine science and policy professionals who have dedicated much of their careers to creating a more Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive (DEI) working environment for marine and environmental professionals – and for the communities they serve.
Find out what Melissa Watkinson-Schutten, Equity, Access and Community Engagement Lead with WSG, and Michael Chang, an associate and racial equity lead with Cascadia Consulting Group, are doing to make our communities along the Salish Sea more welcoming for all.

Maritime Center Deals with COVID-19 Challenges

(First airdate: January 6, 2021) Today we talk with Jake Beattie, the Executive Director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend. Jake details how the Maritime Center has had to adapt to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen in to hear about the new 360 Race and other exciting events and programs.

The Science of Rearing Oysters

(First airdate: December 23, 2020) Shellfish aquaculture is a banner industry in Washington – but growing oysters in the state is surprisingly complex. In this episode, we talk with shellfish hatchery manager Lizzie Nelson as she tells us about her journey to becoming a shellfish biologist, what her job involves, and the challenges that face the industry.

Aquatic Invasive Species

(First airdate: December 9, 2020) The European green crab is considered one of the world’s worst invasive species. Emily Grason and Jeff Adams are both experts in aquatic invasive species and as marine ecologists with the UW College of the Environment and Washington Sea Grant, they oversee a comprehensive program focused on early detection, monitoring and control of the green crab. Learn more about this invasive crab and what is being done to keep the crab out of Puget Sound.

Note: The repeat episode is rescheduled to air Tuesday 12/22 at 5:30pm (preempting Bioneers that day).

Ocean Conservation and the Seattle Aquarium

(First airdate: November 25, 2020) Erin Meyer is director of conservation programs and partnerships at the Seattle Aquarium, where she builds partnerships and advances innovative, long lasting solutions for our ocean from restoring coral reefs to saving endangered shark species.  Erin represents the aquariums of today… and of the future, where conservation along with education is a primary function.

S’Klallam Shellfish Growing Activities, part 2

(First airdate: November 11, 2020) This week’s Coastal Cafe is the second part of a conversation on shellfish growing activities at the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe with tribal member and grower Kurt Grinnell and UW shellfish researcher Brent Vadapoulos. Brent and Kurt dig deeper into the differences between the Pacific and Olympia oysters and some of the pros and cons related to each species.

S’Klallam Shellfish Growing Activities, part 1

(First airdate: October 28, 2020) This week’s conversation on Coastal Café focuses on the latest shellfish growing activities of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. Kurt Grinnell from Jamestown S’klallam and Brent Vadapolous, the sustainable aquaculture specialist from Washington Sea Grant talk about how a floating upweller system is used in the early stages of oyster farming and how sustainable aquaculture fits with tribal goals.

Beach Tours During the Time of COVID-19

(First airdate: October 14, 2020) The Pacific Northwest has a long history of offering educational beach walking tours on its beaches and along its shores, where families and naturalists alike learn about the wonders of our sea life. Marine Ecologist, Jeff Adams, with the University of Washington and Washington Sea Grant, works on a wide range of aquatic and watershed issues with colleagues from Washington State University and numerous other partnerships and particularly Jeff develops beach naturalist and watershed stewardship programs. Learn how Jeff and his colleagues continued their work and adapted beach tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Marine Debris in Our Backyard

(Airdate: September 30, 2020) Marine debris are often a threat to safe boating and water quality in our region. Most obviously, marine debris can be a major navigational hazard for boaters. Less obvious, but just as harmful is the smaller debris that can and do make their way into the seafood we eat. Andrew Mason is the Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator and Pacific Region team lead for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program and shares what types of debris gathers in the Pacific Northwest and how boaters and beach goers alike can all help reduce the debris on our beaches and in our water. 

Coastal Cafe
A joint production of Washington Sea Grant at the College of the Environment, University of Washington and KPTZ 91.9 FM. Coastal Café explores the latest in marine science with researchers, policy experts and people who live and work along our coast.

Pump-Outs and Boater Sewage

(Airdate: September 16, 2020) Coastal Cafe host Aaron Barnett has a most interesting conversation about boater sewage with Catherine Buchalski-Smith. Catherine talks in great detail about pumpouts, boater sewage impacts and other elements of this small but important federal program.

Abandoned and Derelict Vessels

(Airdate: September 2, 2020) Coastal Cafe host Aaron Barnett speaks with Troy Wood, Director of Washington State’s Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Program. Troy discusses the Vessel Turn-In Program or VTIP as well as new legislation that expands efforts to collect and dispose of derelict vessels in Washington waters.

Ocean Crabs and Acidification

(First airdate: August 19, 2020) This week we talk with Dr. Nina Bednarsek, Senior Scientist of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Dr. Bednarsek will be sharing some of her recent research and findings on the impacts of Ocean Acidification on exoskeleton production in larval stage Dungeness Crab.

Wood Bearings

(First airdate: August 5, 2020) On this segment of Coastal Cafe we continue our focus on technology with a conversation on self-lubricating wooden bearings. Lignum Vitae Solutions of Powhatan, Virginia makes propeller and water turbine shafts for the maritime and hydroelectric industries and discusses this centuries-old applied technology and more.


(First airdate: July 22, 2020) Carrie Garrison-Laney is a tsunami hazards specialist with Washington Sea Grant, based out of the University of Washington where she researches past tsunami deposits found around the Puget Sound. Her work includes identifying paleo-tsunami deposits and determining their age using carbon dating. Learn facts about tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest, both past and future.

USCG LifeBoat School

(First airdate: June 18, 2020) The National Motor Lifeboat School, located at the mouth of the Columbia River in Ilwaco, Washington, is one of the U.S. Coast Guard’s premier training stations. Students come from around the country for about a month at a time to gain experience out on the area’s famously stormy seas, which have earned the nickname “graveyard of the Pacific.” Coastal Café guest host Samantha Larson and Aaron Barnett interview students and instructors from the school and provide a real-time account of a training mission, seasickness and all.

Lab on a Chip

(First airdate: May 21, 2020) Nanotechnology alerts Washington boaters and farmers  to threats from eColi and other pathogens. This month we spoke with Dr. Phil Long from the Lake Chelan Research Institute and Dr. Dan Angelscu of Fluidion Inc. about novel technological approaches to early pathogen warnings for agriculture and boating operations.

The Blob

(First airdate: April 23, 2020) We’ve all heard about The Blob. But what exactly is it and what is its impact? In 2014 and 2016, a mass of warm water formed in the Pacific Ocean, wreaking havoc on marine life. And again, this past fall a similar ‘blob’ of abnormally warm water reappeared off the California coast. Coastal Café explores this phenomenon with fishery biologist Dr. Chris Harvey, NOAA NW Fisheries Science Center. 

Oil Spills

(First airdate: March 26, 2020) Coastal Cafe host Aaron Barnett speaks with the director of Washington State’s oil spill response program about their preparedness, response and prevention plans for catastrophic and small oil spills in Washington and the West coast.

Salmon Boundaries

(First airdate February 20, 2020) Today on Coastal Café, we speak with Will Patric, executive director of Rivers Without Borders – the Port Townsend-based organization that focuses on protecting the wild trans-boundary watersheds of Southeast Alaska and Northwest British Columbia.

Seaweed Farming

(First airdate: January 23, 2020) This time on Coastal Café we speak with Dr. Meg Chadsey of Washington Sea Grant who is part of a research project in Washington State that is exploring commercial seaweed aquaculture as a mitigating element toward ocean acidification and as a potential food stock.


(First airdate: December 26, 2019) Seattle artist Preston Singletary is an internationally recognized glass artist whose work has become synonymous with the connections between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. He uses designs from his Tlingit cultural heritage to inform his work — but also finds time to lead a very special band called Khu.éex’ that focuses on rock jazz and funk fusion with strong elements of native culture and themes of water woven in. Learn more here about the band Khu.éex’.