Poster abstracts

*Indicates Student Posters
Presenting Authors are Underlined

 

DOES EELGRASS ACT AS AN OCEAN ACIDIFICATION REFUGE FOR SHELLFISH IN PUGET SOUND?

Bonnie J. Becker (1), Micah Horwith (2), Michelle McCartha (1), Grace McKenney (1), Sarah White (1),

Hozoji Matheson-Margullis (1), David Mullins (1), Justin Michael Drake (1), Suji Kim (1)

  1. University of Washington Tacoma
  2. Washington Department of Natural Resources

Marine waters worldwide are becoming more acidic due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Changes in pH are heterogeneous in space and time, and can be affected by physical and biological processes, including photosynthesis and respiration of plants and animals. Previous studies have shown that seagrass beds, which contain a large amount of plant biomass, can alter the carbonate chemistry in the immediate area, with higher pH during the day and lower pH at night. We explored the effects of this pattern on bivalve shellfish at four sites in Puget Sound and Willapa Bay. Pumped water samples were taken at replicate stations representing seagrass beds and bare substrate, at the surface and bottom of the water column, during the day and at night. Samples were analyzed with microscopy for larvae of various bivalves. We predict that larvae will move into seagrass beds during the day and out of them at night, relative to bare stations. Results to date indicate that patterns are species and size- specific. Understanding the role of seagrass as an acidification refuge will help guide restoration and management actions in a changing climate.

 

CHANGES IN POPULATION STRUCTURE AND PATTERNS OF RECRUITMENT IN NOVEL SOUTH PUGET SOUND PACIFIC OYSTERS POPULATIONS

Michael Behrens (1), Stena Troyer (2)

  1. Pacific Lutheran University
  2. Harbor WildWatch

Novel populations of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) were established in the South Puget Sound starting in winter 2015/2016, due to an anomalous recruitment event. This recruitment event was correlated in time with increasing water temperature associated with the NE Pacific “blob” and the beginning of the 2015-2016 ENSO event. Pacific oysters are now common at many locations in Carr Inlet. This change in community structure was detected by a beach monitoring program initiated in 2013 by Harbor WildWatch (HWW) at rocky sites in Carr Inlet and the Gig Harbor area. The program collects data on species abundance and distribution, substrate type and beach slope twice a year at 8 locations. Data are collected by HWW staff, volunteers, and local high school and college students. As part of this program, data on oyster density and size have been collected at sites where Pacific oysters are now common. After initial establishment at a site, densities tended to decline due to mortality, while median size of oysters continued to increase due to growth of remaining individuals. At all sites, the median size has continued to increase through summer 2018, indicating that the populations have not yet reached a stable size structure. Size frequency distributions changed over time showing both this growth of individuals over time and the recruitment of new oysters into the population for the last three years. This recruitment, while variable across sites may lead to persistence of these novel populations of the introduced Pacific oyster on South Puget Sound beaches. This persistence is a potential threat to the persistence and recovery of the native Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida). Ecological interactions between these species deserve attention as Olympia oyster restoration is an important goal for Puget Sound communities.

 

GIS MODEL FOR CHARACTERIZING FARMING ACTIVITY IN WATERSHEDS

Stephen Bramwell, Adam Peterson, Nicole Warren, Washington State University

The 2015 Deschutes River Total Maximum Daily Load Report by Washington State Department of Ecology recommends actions to improve bacteria, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and fine sediment in the Deschutes watershed. There is a well-documented need to address agricultural nonpoint source pollution, but contributions of agricultural activity to water quality degradation are unknown. For this project, a diverse group of stakeholders was convened that integrated regulatory, non-regulatory, and agricultural research entities. Thurston County Stormwater Utility, WSU Extension Agriculture Program, and Thurston Conservation District began a collaborative partnership in 2017. The goal was to produce and use data that supports the collective goals of stakeholders to address nonpoint source water pollution. Outcomes of this work include 1) data collection methodology, and 2) characterization of agricultural activity and natural resources on agricultural land. Agricultural characterization work utilized parcel data and conservation plans, Thurston County Geodata databases, parcel inventories at the Conservation District, and a windshield survey methodology. Data for Reichel Lake basin, in the Deschutes River Watershed, is highlighted, which has been identified as priority area for restoration. The majority of the Reichel Creek sub-basin land is in long-term forestry, but agricultural activity is significant. Ten percent of the sub-basin was designated long-term agriculture, 83 percent long-term forestry, and 7 percent residential. Of 563 agricultural acres, all was grazed or hayed, and 37 percent had livestock present consisting of a total of 176 animal units. Ninety-seven percent of all farmland fronted on Reichel Creek. Thirty-six percent of farmed parcels along the creek had livestock present, and of these 40 percent had verifiable exclusion fencing and 60 percent could not be verified or exclusion fencing was absent. It was determined that there was substantial nitrogen and phosphorus generated from the 176 animal units along Reichel Creek, with potential loss to the surface water. The long-term aim of this project is to better understand the intersection of natural resource management and agricultural lands management. The data will be utilized to better target outreach efforts, engage landowners voluntarily, and identify a need for cost-share funding to implement best management practices on agricultural lands.

 

*MARINE INSECTS OF PUGET SOUND

Tristan Carette-Meyers, The Evergreen State College

The Puget Sound is an economically and culturally important marine ecosystem, and insects are a part of this ecosystem. Research suggests that insects are an important food source for near shore juvenile salmon and adult chinook salmon which has wider ecological and conservation implications, including at higher trophic, and while some work has been done on the coast of British Columbia little has been done on the insects themselves within the marine environment of Puget Sound. To close this biodiversity knowledge gap, local entomology collections, online databases, and several intertidal insect surveys were conducted to gain a better understanding of the insects of Puget Sound. Sampling was biased towards publicly accessible local county and city park rocky cobble intertidal areas during spring low-low tide exposure. Only hand sampling techniques with net and aspirator were utilized. So far, 8 individual species of 3 families of 2 different orders of insects were confirmed present in Puget Sound in this study. Additionally, 15 species of 3 families of 3 different orders of insects were suggested in the literature, but were not observed in this 4 week survey. The most abundant order Diptera had an average biodiversity (Shannon-Weiner Index) of 1.68. In all, 4 rocky cobble beaches on the Puget Sound were assessed and some containing unique species. Further studies, in seasonality (and accordingly, food availability), habitat substrate preference (muddy, sandy, cobble or rocky), insect behavior, trap design, and insect population dynamics could be investigated based off the work done in this study.

 

PAR AND LIGHT EXTINCTION BENEATH VARIOUS DOCK DECK TYPES, PLEASANT HARBOR MARINA, WASHINGTON

Cinde Donoghue (1), Anthony Gabriel (2)

  1. Aquatic Resources Division, Washington Department of Natural Resources
  2. Department of Geography, Central Washington University

The Photosynthetically Available Radiation (PAR) required for healthy aquatic habitats is influenced by various factors including the amount, size and type of suspended particles, changes in salinity and density, concentrations of plankton and chlorophyll, and, if covered by over-water structures, the degree of shading. This project assessed light penetration through the water column under various over-water structure deck gratings. The shading effects of various deck types were determined by reductions in available PAR as a proportion of available light at neighboring open water location, including analysis of significant differences due to seasonal and diurnal sun angle variations.

Between August 2015 – June 2016, 10 Odyssey light sensors were deployed beneath four deck types with various transmission properties which had been previously measured in a series of controlled scale-model mesocosm experiments. Sensors were suspended from harnesses at 88 cm water depth below the middle of each deck type (two replicates). Two control sensors were installed at the same depth on uncovered floats anchored to the bed. Data was collected at 10 minute intervals over several three week periods during the spring, summer and fall.

Decking with transmission properties (grid and slotted types) received 5-13% more PAR than solid decking (cement and wood) during seasons with higher sun angles. Of the two, slotted decking received 42-46% less PAR than grid decking. The proportion of PAR received below solid decking (wood or cement) did not vary significantly by season, ranging between 3.9-5.1% of the PAR received at the open water. Differences in the proportions of PAR received between seasons was more evident in decking types with transmission capabilities, which received 68- 70% less of the available PAR in the fall. In terms of daily variability, slotted and solid decking types received significantly higher proportions of available PAR during lower sun angle periods (dawn/dusk) than noon for all seasons. Grid decking was the only type that received the greatest amount of the available PAR during the highest sun angle conditions. Ecological implications of these findings related to daily PAR requirements for seagrass survival as well as potential impacts to fish behavior are also discussed.

 

DYNAMICS OF SEAGRASS (ZOSTER SPP.) EDGES AND LANDSCAPE CHARACTERISTICS IN WASHINGTON STATE

Cinde Donoghue (1), Anthony Gabriel (2), David Cordner (2)

  1. Washington Department of Natural Resources
  2. Central Washington University

Seagrasses have been identified as an essential nearshore habitat type that is steadily decreasing globally. In Washington State, policies are in place in an effort to protect and sustain healthy native seagrass habitat. One management method applied to areas where eelgrass (Zostera marina) occurs is to implement a protective buffer, which is the distance from a potential impact to the edge (or boundary) of an eelgrass bed. Washington Department of Natural Resources currently applies a 25 foot (7.62m) protective buffer distance between eelgrass and authorized activities that occur on state-owned-aquatic lands. However, eelgrass habitat is continuously changing in density, biomass and distribution. To determine if the current 25 foot buffer allows for the natural variation of movement observed in the field, the edge and landscape dynamics of seagrass beds (Zostera marina and the non-native Zostera japonica) were assessed at 15 sites marine sites in Washington State between 2013-2015.

Survey-grade GNSS receivers were used to collect presence/absence of both seagrass species and elevation data along transects in a 150m-wide sampling area in the upper beach. In addition, along this shoreward edge, eelgrass density counts were conducted at fixed randomly sampled meter plots. Survey transects were spaced 5m apart and sampling points were collected at approximately 1m intervals. The fully submerged and deep edge of the seagrass were surveyed using a Biosonics single beam DTX sonar.

The location of the upper and lower edge of each seagrass species fluctuated considerably. However, neither the mean nor maximum amount of movement were significantly related to latitudinal gradient (ranging from north to south), slopes, or eelgrass bed classification type (i.e. flats, or narrow/wide fringes). Similarly uninterrupted coverage between the edges varied considerably by site, though was not significantly related to overall slopes. Perhaps the most relevant findings were regarding upper edge movement, where decisions regarding authorization for lease activities must be weighed with respect to habitat sustainability.

Percentage of mixed seagrass (Z. marina and Z. japonica) and patchiness (high occurrence of small clumps of seagrass separated by bare areas relative to continuous coverage) were positively correlated with upper edge movement.

 

STREAM TEMPERATURE AND SURFACE WATER/GROUNDWATER INTERACTION AT CLOVER CREEK

Shuhui Dun, Scott Groce, Tom Kantz, Pierce County Planning and Public Works

Clover Creek is impaired by high summer stream temperatures. In 2017, staff from Pierce County Surface Water Management designed a study to better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of stream temperature in the creek. Sensors were installed along the creek to collect 15-minute interval continuous temperature data. In November and December 2017, during the beginning of the wet season when groundwater levels were rising, we observed an interesting phenomenon. Until mid-November, Clover Creek stayed dry at river mile 4.84 (station CC_CLOV_4.84), although the creek was flowing at sites upstream. Sensors in the dry stream bed at CC_CLOV_4.84 measured temperatures similar to air temperature observed at a nearby weather station, consistent with a dry streambed. From mid-November, the stream began flowing at the site. During mid-November to early-December, stream temperatures at the site followed the same trend as upstream locations. Accumulative precipitation in the water year reached about 7 inches on November 15, and 12 inches on December 3. Then, for about 2 weeks, the air temperature dropped to below freezing at night and there was very little precipitation. During this period, water temperatures dropped in concordance with the air temperature, except at CC_CLOV_4.84, where stream temperature rose instead. On the coldest day of the period, water temperature at CC_CLOV_4.84 was more than 5°C above the temperature at North Fork Clover Creek (CC_NFCL_0.30) which is charged mostly by surface water. Equipment checks did not find any malfunctions. We hypothesized that a groundwater mound formed along the creek during late November and then flowed back to the creek during the low precipitation period in December. Water warmed up underground and then flowed out, creating warmer stream temperatures than upstream locations. The EPA’s Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP) model was used to simulate the phenomenon and to corroborate the hypothesis. Since groundwater is often warmer than surface water in winter and cooler in summer, managing surface water/groundwater interactions might be an efficient way for reducing summer stream temperatures at Clover Creek.

 

*MEASURING BIOLOGICAL STRESS FROM METALS IN PUGET SOUND MUSSELS

Dr. Jim Gawel, Christopher Wu, University of Washington Tacoma

The presence of toxic pollutants in the Puget Sound has been a major concern for many decades. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), in collaboration with various governmental and private organizations, monitors for several pollutants using native mussels (Mytilus trossulus) as part of the Stormwater Action Monitoring (SAM) program.

Metals, such as zinc, copper, and lead, are one class of toxic pollutants which the WDFW monitors. This study, therefore, sought to determine if there is a correlation between the metal concentration in the mussels and biological stress. Biological stress was measured by determining the concentration of metallothionein metal binding protein) in samples of provided tissue. Metallothionein concentrations were determined by silver saturation and ICP-MS analysis. Ultimately, there was no observable correlation between the metal concentrations measured by the WDFW and the metallothionein concentrations we measured. This may be due to the low concentration of metals present in the mussels or perhaps the decreased growth rate of the mussels during the months of October-February when they are deployed.

 

CAPTURING AN EMERGING INVASION: EUROPEAN GREEN CRAB IN WASHINGTON’S SALISH SEA

Emily Grason (1), Jeff Adams (1), Kelly Martin (2), P. Sean McDonald (3), Kate Litle (1)

  1. Washington Sea Grant
  2. Washington Sea Grant, UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
  3. UW Program on the Environment

The ongoing spread of the globally-damaging invasive European green crab, Carcinus maenas, along the west coast of North America has been viewed with concern by managers. Though green crab have been present on the outer coast of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia since the late 1990’s, the Salish Sea might have distinct dynamics. Initial establishment of these inland waters was most likely human-mediated, as prevailing oceanographic conditions are not expected to favor import of larvae. Following the detection, in 2012, of an established population of green crab in Sooke Basin, B.C., Washington Sea Grant (WSG) launched Crab Team, a volunteer-based monitoring program in 2015. Crab Team currently engages 220 volunteer, tribal, and agency monitors in surveying a network of 52 sites throughout Washington’s Salish Sea. This multi-stakeholder approach has enabled a much broader scope of early detection than would otherwise be possible. In addition, close advisory partnerships with management entities, including tribes, US federal and state agencies, facilitate communication and coordination of response and assessment efforts. Since 2016, more than 175 European green crab have been captured at seven monitoring sites along Washington’s inland shorelines, the majority at a single site – Dungeness Spit. Based on size, these are believed to be recent recruits arrived via larval dispersal in 2015 and/or 2016. Though most of these populations are not yet fully established, there is potential for rapid growth without intervention. Yet the low numbers and apparent isolation of current populations indicate that the invasion is still in its early stages, providing an opportunity for effective intervention. While physical oceanographic modeling and genomic research are ongoing in an attempt to better understand the dispersal dynamics of green crab in the Salish Sea, continued monitoring efforts and cross boundary collaboration are imperative to protect ecosystems and natural resources.

 

SOUTH PUGET SOUND BIOBLITZ – NEARSHORE INVERTEBRATES

Katie Houle, Yvonne Shevalier, Pacific Shellfish Institute

On August 11th, 2018 community members joined local biologists out on the beach for a rapid assessment, or “BioBlitz” of nearshore invertebrates on four South Puget Sound beaches. Pacific Shellfish Institute (PSI), a non-profit in Olympia, WA, hosted the one-day event to engage residents of all ages and catalogue invertebrate diversity living on and below the sediment surface. The last “bioblitz” of marine invertebrates in South Sound was conducted in 1998 by professional biologists to target invasive species. This event was the first of its kind to involve citizen scientists in the data collection process. Intertidal beach surveys were conducted systematically at Frye Cove County Park, Priest Point Park, Tolmie State Park and Woodard Bay Conservation Area. A series of cores (10cm x 15cm) were dug along multiple 50m transects parallel to shore. Contents of cores were passed through a 2mm hand sieve. Small pit traps and quadrats (0.5m2) were used to assess mobile and surface dwelling species. Specimens were either identified and photographed in the field by biologists or collected for further examination/identification. The WET Science Center partnered with PSI for this event to host live marine invertebrates at their facility in downtown Olympia. This aspect of the event was able to provide a hands-on experience for 150 additional people who were not able join the beach surveys. Funding for the event was provided by Keta Legacy Foundation and the Squaxin Island Tribe. A special thank you to the Nisqually Reach Nature Center, Dany Burgess (WA Dept. of Ecology Marine Benthic Lab), Pauline Yu (The Evergreen State College), Margaret Homerding (Nisqually Tribe), Sara Grant (PCSGA), Brandon Bywater (Nisqually River Foundation), and Roberta Wood (WA Dept. of Ecology, retired) for their expertise and support.

 

BENTHIC INDEX OF BIOTIC INTEGRITY (B-IBI) AND HYDROLOGIC METRICS AT SPANAWAY CREEK, WA, A STREAM SYSTEM HEAVILY IMPACTED BY GROUNDWATER

Tom Kantz (1), Shuhui Dun (1), Michael Milne (2), Valerie Fuchs (2)

  • Pierce County Planning and Public Works
  • Brown and Caldwell

Pierce County conducted watershed-scale stormwater management planning in the Spanaway watershed to meet 2013-2018 stormwater permit requirements. The permit required estimating B-IBI scores based on regional regression equations correlating B-IBI and hydrologic metrics. The estimated B-IBI scores were used as one of the indicators to evaluate stormwater management strategies. B-IBI score is an indicator for the biological health of stream systems, and altered hydrology represented by hydrologic flashiness metrics has been identified as a key limiting factor for B-IBI in Puget Sound Lowlands. Spanaway Lake/Creek watershed is 23 square miles, and has a surficial geology dominated by glacial recession outwash deposits. Nearly all stormwater in the watershed infiltrates, and stream flows are mostly groundwater baseflows. The impact on the stream system by stormwater is effectively attenuated by extensive stormwater infiltration in the drainage area. Field data were collected and numerical models were built to better understand the watershed and to evaluate stormwater management strategies. Field data included continuous stream flow and temperature, groundwater level, weather data. Discrete water quality data were collected monthly for surface water, quarterly for groundwater, and for surface water during selected storm events. A Spanaway Lake/Creek HSPF model was built to represent the existing conditions, and calibrated to the data collected in the field. B-IBI data were collected at the stream stations in 2015. In 2016, an in-depth analysis and field assessment of site-specific benthic communities was conducted. The hydrologic metrics based on the calibrated HSPF model show that Spanaway Creek is less “flashy” than most other creeks in the Puget Sound region. Despite the apparently stable hydrologic regime, B-IBI scores observed at Spanaway Creek are relatively low. B-IBI scores estimated using the regional regression equations are generally higher than the field observed values. Field assessments at the B-IBI sites identified elevated water temperature and lack of habitat complexity as likely stressors for benthic macroinvertebrates. The findings show that, while a sound hydrologic regime is necessary to achieving good B-IBI scores, it does not by itself guarantee good B-IBI scores.

 

*QUANTIFYING NUTRIENT LOADING RESPONSIBLE FOR HAZARDOUS ALGAL BLOOMS IN SPANAWAY LAKE, PIERCE COUNTY WASHINGTON

Jack Lindauer, Jeff Tepper, University of Puget Sound

Hazardous algal blooms (HABs) are a complex problem that has become more common worldwide in recent decades. Spanaway Lake in Pierce County, Washington, is a popular recreational destination that has been experiencing more frequent HAB events, leading Pierce County Surface Water Management (SWM) to make restoration of water quality a priority.

Development of a mitigation plan for Spanaway Lake necessitates understanding the hydraulics and nutrient budget of the lake. Previous research conducted for the Spanaway Lake Management plan from 2014-2016, identified sediment as the main source of nutrients, but did not quantify nutrient fluxes or the hydraulics within the water column that impact the residence time and cycling of nutrients.

This study is designed to monitor water column conditions over the four-month period (June – October) when HABs develop. Measurements include biweekly monitoring of the water column, inflow stream and outflow stream for (temp, D.O., major ions, nutrients), nutrient flux from the sediment, sedimentation rate (using traps), and inflow and outflow stream discharges. In addition, a River Surveyor 9 is being used to measure the velocity of water flow in the lake, and thereby constrain groundwater contributions. Results will be used in conjunction with SWM to calibrate the Water Quality Assessment Simulation Program (WASP) to predict future bloom events in Spanaway.

Preliminary results confirm that groundwater is the major source of water and that P concentration in the water column is low as along as the hypolimnion remain oxygenated. As a result, biological productivity remains moderate but increasing (Secchi depth ~3.5 m). We anticipate that hypolimnion P levels will rise as stratification develops, and that wind-driven mixing of this nutrient-rich bottom water may lead to algal growth as the summer proceeds.

Ongoing work seeks to quantify contribution of nutrients by suspended sediment and groundwater and the rate of nutrient flux.

 

WHAT DOES THE SALISH SEA MODEL TELL US ABOUT ACIDIFICATION IN SOUTH PUGET SOUND FROM REGIONAL ANTHROPOGENIC NUTRIENTS?

Greg Pelletier (1), Tarang Khangaonkar (2), Laura Bianucci (2), Wen Long (2), Teizeen Mohamedali (1),

Anise Ahmed (1), Cristiana Figueroa-Kaminsky (1), Richard Feely (3), Simone Alin (3), Nina Bednarsek (4),

  1. Washington State Department of Ecology
  2. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
  3. NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)
  4. Southern California Coastal Water Resources Project (SCCWRP)

This project uses the existing Salish Sea Model, developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) for the Washington State Department of Ecology and U.S. EPA. In this presentation we highlight predictions within South Puget Sound. The results from the Salish Sea Model show the predicted influences of regional nutrient sources on acidification in South Puget Sound. The model accounts for the influence of the Pacific Ocean, regional human nutrient contributions from point and nonpoint sources, and natural loading from watersheds. This effort identifies geographical areas and seasons experiencing greater influence from regional sources of nutrients in South Puget Sound. The project also includes a vulnerability assessment of organisms that are sensitive to acidification. In this presentation we will show some preliminary results of predicted changes affecting the vulnerability of Dungeness crab megalopae and pteropods in South Puget Sound. Results from this effort indicate that increased dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), phytoplankton biomass, and organic carbon caused by regional anthropogenic nutrient sources can significantly contribute to acidification in the South Puget Sound, and also significantly increase adverse conditions for sensitive biota.

 

SQUAXIN ISLAND; SEA LEVEL RISE IN THE SALISH SEA

Candace Penn, Brian McTeague, Squaxin Island Tribe

The Squaxin Island Sea Level Rise project assess the vulnerability of shellfish and forage fish habitat to climate change-related impacts on Squaxin Island. By establishing a current key intertidal habitat and tidal conditions on the island, SIT assessed the impacts on shellfish and forage fish that will result from sea level rise, inundation and erosion.

This poster will include future projection models imagery of Squaxin Island shorelines for 2050, 2100, and 2150.

 

USING eDNA TO DETERMINE LOCATION AND DENSITY OF PACIFIC LAMPREY AMMOCOETES IN THE NISQUALLY RIVER

Joy Polston-Barnes, Jessica Olmstead, Washington Department of Natural Resources

Within Washington State the Pacific lamprey (Entosphernus tridentatus) once flourished throughout rivers and creeks that flowed freely. Lamprey are culturally significant to a number of tribes of the Pacific Northwest. They were an important source of protein and fat in tribal people’s diet and were also used for medicinal purposes. Historical accounts of the species include river reaches that were blackened by the abundance of fish present. Over the last couple decades, fish counts throughout Washington Rivers showed alarming rates of the species decline. The manipulation of river systems by damming and channelization to control water flows for human use has caused rivers and sediment deposition patterns to change, altering lamprey egg and ammocoete (larvae) habitat. Lamprey ammocoetes bury into the sediment for extended periods – estimated up to 7-8 years and are vulnerable to contaminant exposure and being dislodged by activities that disrupt sediment or hydrodynamics. Physically excavating and electroshocking to release the ammocoetes from the sediment bed is currently how abundance and distribution estimates are obtained. The overall goals of our study were to 1) evaluate accuracy of the habitat characterization survey in positively identifying ammocoete presence; 2) determine whether eDNA analysis on sediment samples collected from the Nisqually river can be used determine presence and distribution of ammocoetes; and 3) whether the eDNA distance gradient results found in a USGS controlled laboratory study were applicable in-situ.

We applied lamprey habitat characterization protocol and site visits to determine sampling sites. Water and sediment samples were collected for eDNA analysis along a distance gradient from each potential habitat site. Following eDNA collection, electrofishing surveys were performed to confirm presence/absence of lamprey larvae. Captured larvae were counted and measured for size. eDNA and electrofishing results are being compared at each site and between sites.

Conclusions will be made if this type of quantification can be applied to field conditions and if WDNR can use the sampling methods on a site by site basis for management of lamprey habitat on state-owned-aquatic lands.

 

SONAR TO TRACK SEDIMENT AROUND GEODUCK AQUACULTURE

Casey Pruitt, Andrew Ryan, Washington Department of Natural Resources

Multibeam Sonar was used to map and track changes in bathymetry at Arcadia Point WA, spanning from 2015 to present. Our survey focuses on a site leased to Arcadia Point Seafoods for the commercial planting of Geoduck. Surveys before planting, after planting, as well as subsequent surveys during the grow-out period were conducted. Sediment samples were taken pre and post planting from inside and outside of the planting zone. Little sediment change from commercial activity was observed, however a variety of different natural processes were shown to change the bathymetry in and around the site.

 

CHANGING LANDOWNER BEHAVIOR & IMPROVING NEARSHORE CONDITIONS: THE CONSERVATION DISTRICT FRAMEWORK FOR MARINE SHORELINE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Karin Strelioff, MLA, Katrinka Hibler, P.E., Mason Conservation District

The state of knowledge about coastal processes, nearshore ecology, and land management impacts along the marine shoreline is evolving. Integrating this information into a new behavioral norm for waterfront homeowners is imperative to protect the health and function of the Puget Sound. In particular, reducing shoreline modification and armor installation on residential properties is a widely acknowledged and pressing goal. Yet how can we most effectively achieve behavior change that truly embraces shoreline stewardship? Success requires not only information sharing, but understanding and adoption of desired actions by individuals living on the shoreline.

Conservation Districts have a long history of working directly with landowners to implement science-based stewardship projects. Marine technical assistance is a growing focus at the 12 Puget Sound Districts. In Mason County, WA, a pilot program, Shore Friendly Mason, is now entering its 4th year. The initiative fosters behavior change and has encountered many challenge and successes. This poster explores how the Conservation District assistance model links the latest information about shoreline health and impacts to on-the-ground behavior, while exploring the following questions: How are Conservation Districts addressing shoreline stewardship with landowners? What aspects of their technical assistance model succeed and where are the greatest challenges? What Shore Friendly Mason program elements are successfully influencing homeowner behavior? Which concepts about shoreline ecology, process, or management resonate and which do not? How has collaboration among varied disciplines played a critical role? How are incentives used – and with what success? Which emerging challenges need to be addressed to realize greater long term success?

By reflecting on work to date, and on the possibilities of expanded future efforts, this poster asks for collaborative discussion about how best to translate research findings into action – by the people who have most impact.

 

CROSSING THE SCIENCE/POLICY DIVIDE FOR PUGET SOUND RESTORATION: HOW STAKEHOLDERS ACCESS, EVALUATE, AND USE SCIENCE IN ECOSYSTEM RECOVERY PLANNING

Craig Thomas (2), Tom Koontz (1), Austin Sell (2)

  1. University of Washington Tacoma
  2. University of Washington Seattle

The multiple agencies, organizations, and individuals working to restore Puget Sound ecosystem functions are awash in scientific information. Each year technical reports, guidance documents, workshops, science symposia, and peer reviewed journal articles are generated on a wide range of topics. But how do policy makers and managers navigate this science to put it to use? And as a growing range of stakeholders participate at the decision table, how might science be understood and incorporated into plans and actions?

In this study we investigate the use of science in collaborative decision-making via group interviews with members of 6 different partnerships in the South Sound and other parts of the Puget Sound basin. Two of the partnership are Marine Resource Committees, two are salmon Lead Entities, and two are Local Integrating Organizations. From 38 interviewees we develop codes and themes about the use of science. Results suggest patterns in when and how scientific information is sought, from which sources, and what makes it more or less useful. In particular, the most usable science comes from networks of scientists and agency publications, rather than peer-reviewed articles, because they are more readily accessible and likely to be applicable to the local context. Participants also stressed the value of attending scientific conferences in the region. Participants noted several barriers to incorporating science, including cost, time, finding information online, and non-published data.

 

BIODIVERSITY IN CHEHALIS RIVER FLOODPLAIN OFF-CHANNEL HABITATS

Julie Tyson, Marc Hayes, Keith Douville, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

For Aquatic Species Restoration Plan (ASRP) development in the Chehalis Basin, we conducted many surveys of 185 unique off-channel habitats over the longitudinal axis of the Chehalis River alluvial floodplain to determine the distribution of aquatic and semi-aquatic species during 2015-2017. These surveys were unique for both its large effort and its ability to address stillwater-breeding amphibians in a large floodplain. We had two foci: 1) late winter-early spring surveys that detect native amphibians via egg masses (n = 156 sites); and 2) late spring-late summer surveys focusing on native fishes and exotic amphibians and fishes (n = 153 sites).

Our results reveal that except for Western toads and Oregon spotted frogs, five native stillwater-breeding amphibians extensively use the Chehalis floodplain off-channel habitats for reproduction and rearing. All five amphibians occur across the longitudinal axis of the floodplain, but Northern red-legged frog and Northwestern salamanders favor longer hydroperiod habitats, whereas Long-toed salamanders and Pacific treefrogs favor shorter hydroperiod habitats. In a companion study, we found Western toad breeding only in the portions of the mainstem river and some of its major tributaries in the basin; why they do not use off-channel habitats is uncertain. The other unrecorded native amphibian, Oregon spotted frog, is only known from the upper Black River drainage.

Our results also show that Chehalis floodplain off-channel habitats harbor no less than 16 native fish species. These range from off-channel specialists, like Olympic Mudminnow, to fishes that utilize off-channel habitat seasonally, like juveniles of Coho and Chinook salmon, and Pacific and Western brook lamprey. Native fish species richness increases as one moves down the floodplain.

Chehalis floodplain off-channel habitats are also rich in exotics. We recorded the American bullfrog and 10 exotic fish species. Centrarchids, Brown bullhead, and Yellow perch dominate the exotic fish assemblage. All exotics are less frequent in the tidal and upstream floodplain areas. Modeling has revealed that centrarchids reduce the likelihood of a site being occupied by some native amphibians, and may be the primary reason that the Oregon spotted frog does not seem to be present in the Chehalis River floodplain.