Protect and Restore Habitat
Find articles related to protection and restoration of habitats in the Puget Sound and Salish Sea ecosystems.Displaying 1 - 36 of 36
This version of the Puget Sound Science Update provides an initial evaluation of habitat indicators, but is not intended to be comprehensive. Highlights include evaluation of marine and interface habitats (area and condition), as well as evaluation of a number of indicators of freshwater and terrestrial habitats condition. Many measures of habitat condition, especially those relating to water quality, were addressed under the PSP Water Quality goal.
In this section we present a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the various protection and restoration strategies identified and described in the preceding chapters. This evaluation method is designed to be used to make recommendations and conclusions for implementing the most ecologically and fiscally effective strategies for restoring Puget Sound ecosystem function.
The goal of this suggested evaluation process is to evaluate how likely a particular strategy, or group of strategies, will achieve its stated goal; namely, the restoration or protection of one or more desirable attributes of Puget Sound. In short, how effective is the strategy in question?
Editor's Note: This section is in outline form except for the Discussion of Harvest Management
2. Salmon and steelhead protection and restoration
A. Life-history-based restoration
B. ESA restoration vs. full, optimum production
C. The 4-H approach
1. Potential Strategies: Habitats
1. Section Scope
This section reviews, assesses, and summarizes the potential strategies investigated in past scientific and technical research for positively affecting the watersheds and tributaries draining to Puget Sound. The review and assessment covers strategies for both protecting resources that remain and recovering or improving resources that have been impaired. Concentration is on presenting the level of effectiveness of the candidate strategies, as established by the research, and the relative certainty associated with the reported effectiveness. Of particular interest is identifying strategies that reduce multiple threats to the Puget Sound ecosystem.
Here we focus on strategies that address broad-scale impacts in Puget Sound. We discuss perhaps the two must ubiquitous drivers, human footprint and climate change, recognizing that all other strategies must be imbedded within the context of these ultimate drivers. This review concentrates on publications that focus on Puget Sound, or at least the Pacific Northwest, including: Clancy et al. (2009), Climate Impacts Group (2009), Hulse, Gregory, and Baker (2002), Lombard (2006), Montgomery et al. (2003), and Ruckelshaus and McClure (2007). It is our hope that future versions of this document include lessons learned from other large-scale protection and restoration efforts in the U.S. that have analogous processes or properties.
The goal of this chapter is to review the potential ecosystem protection and restoration strategies investigated in past scientific research, assess how they can positively affect the biophysical condition of the greater Puget Sound ecosystem and summarize how the strategies can be applied to reduce threats to recovery of the Puget Sound ecosystem. This chapter covers strategies for both protecting resources that remain healthy as well as rehabilitating impaired natural resources. We emphasize the importance of concentrating on determining the level of effectiveness of the candidate strategies based on scientific research, as well as the relative certainty associated with their reported effectiveness.
The level of human activity in the Salish Sea region both partly springs from and leads to extensive use of nearshore ecosystems. Access to shipping, fishing and other commercial and recreational endeavors makes the region an attractive location for human settlement. Expanding settlement and human activities exerts growing pressures on the ecological system. In the Driver-Pressure-State-Impacts-Response (DPSIR) conceptual model, nearshore human activities are represented as “Drivers” (Figure 3). Because shoreline modification is a consequence of these driving activities, the threat is represented as a Pressure in our review.
Scott F. Pearson1, Nathalie Hamel2, Steven Walters3, and John Marzluff3
Introduction: Scott F. Pearson1, Steven Walters3, and Nathalie Hamel2
Climate Change: Heather Cornell3
Residential, Commercial and Industrial Development: Steven Walters3
Shoreline Modification: Steven Walters3
Pollution: James West4
Invasive and Non-native Species: Heather Cornell3
Ecosystem Models and Their Evaluation: Scott F. Pearson1 and Steven Walters3
Conclusion: All authors contributed
Phillip S. Levin1, Andy James2, Jessi Kershner3, Sandra O’Neill1, Tessa Francis1, Jameal Samhouri1, Chris Harvey1, Michael T. Brett2, and Daniel Schindler3
The San Juan Islands National Monument was established on March 25, 2013 by the Obama administration.
NOAA has released a draft report establishing a common monitoring and adaptive management framework for Chinook salmon recovery in Puget Sound.
The Puget Sound Recovery Implementation Technical Team has released a draft of a NOAA technical memorandum describing frameworks for adaptive management and monitoring of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound. Download the report.
This is the executive summary from a technical report produced for the Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership on Valued Ecosystem Components (VEC). The entire document is included as a PDF with this summary.
This article originally appeared in Threatened and Endangered Species, State of Washington Annual Report 2011. Further information on these species and others in the Puget Sound basin is available at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife site and the Fish and Wildlife Service page on endangered species.
There are at least 28 species of rockfish in the Salish Sea, but their populations have declined in the past several decades. The proceedings from a 2011 rockfish recovery workshop in Seattle are now available.
The State of Our Watersheds Report is produced by the treaty tribes of western Washington, and seeks to present a comprehensive view of 20 watersheds in the Puget Sound region and the major issues that are impacting habitat.
Protection Island, a National Wildlife Refuge in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, provides important habitat for seabirds and marine mammals.
Wetlands are recognized as critical ecosystems for biodiversity because of their disproportional use by wildlife and exceptional habitats for plants. It is their unique combination of shallow aquatic habitats and adjacent terrestrial conditions extending over a wide range of geomorphic and elevational settings that accounts for their ecological complexity and resultant richness. Because of their landscape setting, each wetland tends to exhibit unique habitat types and characteristic arrays of species adapted to idiosyncratic conditions, products of each wetland’s ecological and evolutionary history.
Except for a very small area in the SE corner of the County, the subalpine and alpine habitats are located in the North Cascades Ecoregion that occupies the NE quarter of King County. This ecoregion is composed of steeply dissected valleys that rise precipitously to the subalpine (montane) forests, meadows, and parklands and, in a short distance more, to the alpine ridges and peaks of the Cascade Crest. The habitats that typify this high-elevation zone are among the most undisturbed habitats remaining in King County.
The diversity of streams in the county is a reflection of the diversity of its geography. From the small rivulets that begin high in the Cascade Mountains, to the brooks that flow gently across the lowlands, to the five major rivers of the county, there are over 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles) of perennial streamcourses in King County.
Riparian habitats, often characterized by particular trees and shrub species that line the banks of most rivers and streams in the lowlands and foothills of King County.
King County contains four major marine habitats: backshore, intertidal and shallow subtidal, deep subtidal, and riverine/sub-estuarine. Descriptions of each of these habitats and the types of flora and fauna associated with them are provided below.
The history of land use in King County has produced a lowland and foothill landscape of bewildering variety. The once continuous forest of western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and redcedar has given way to a patchwork of lawns, parks, playgrounds, woodlots, greenbelts, old fields, croplands, tree farms, and remnant forests set amid a landscape of urban, suburban, rural, and commercial uses, all joined and, at the same time, separated by a vast network of roads and communication corridors. Despite this apparent richness and variety of patches, this landscape is clearly human-dominated, and habitats for native species have generally been marginalized by the scale and pace of land conversion and resource extraction. This pattern is not, of course, unusual in the history of development.
The natural biodiversity of the lakes of King County is strongly influenced by geography. The county runs from the Cascade mountain crest to the shores of Puget Sound, covering all three different Level III ecoregions (Puget Lowland, North Cascade, and Cascade). The geology, elevation, climate, and ecology in these three ecoregions are all different, and these differences in environmental factors determine the natural biodiversity of the lakes and also influence the risks, vulnerability, and impacts to that biodiversity.
Pollution of the rivers, creeks, bays, and open waters of Puget Sound comes from a variety of sources and travels along many pathways. Spilled oil products and fuel, deposition of air pollutants, legacy toxic pollutants, disease-bearing and illness-causing organisms from failing and poorly maintained on-site sewage treatment systems, fertilizers, erosion, and the runoff from roads and parking lots all find their way into the waters of Puget Sound, where they harm fish and wildlife and create direct health risks to people. Polluted waters reduce ecosystem services – shellfish closures, beach closures, impacts to recreation, impairments to sources of drinking water, loss of cultural resources, consumption warnings for fish, and low oxygen conditions that kill marine species. Increasing numbers of people, cars, and pavement mean more pollutants enter our waterways in higher concentrations, and at a faster rate. Pollutants also enter waterways directly through point source discharges from commercial and industrial sites.
In the course of building homes, businesses, roads, and infrastructure, the lands and waters of Puget Sound have been drastically modified. Levees, dams, and toxic deposits are obvious and have site-specific impacts. But less obvious are the cumulative changes from human land use activities, such as bulkheads, docks, permanent removal of native vegetation, and loss of native habitat in marine and upland areas. These activities have damaged the underlying processes that form beaches, keep rivers, estuaries, and forests healthy, and support species. Historically, the actions that led to ecosystem degradation were intended to improve the quality of life for Puget Sound residents, but with closed shellfish beds, flooding, species decline, and other impacts it is clear that ecosystem rebuilding efforts are needed.
Puget Sound has been dramatically altered during the past 150 years. One-third of the shoreline has been armored, large areas of forestland and farmland have been paved or otherwise converted to other uses, and river systems have been altered by dams and levees. These actions were undertaken to produce other benefits, but they cumulatively damage and destroy the underlying ecological processes that enable Puget Sound to be healthy and productive. Human population growth and a changing climate in Puget Sound will exacerbate the threats to ecosystem health. To maintain or restore the structure and function of the Puget Sound ecosystem, it is imperative to identify and retain the important features of the ecosystem that still function well.
Puget Sound has over 4,000 km (2,500 miles) of shorelines, ranging from rocky sea cliffs to coastal bluffs and river deltas. The exchange of water, sediment, and nutrients between the land and sea is fundamental to the formation and maintenance of an array of critical habitat types.
The climate of Puget Sound is a product of the interaction between large-scale wind and weather patterns and the complex topography of the region. Seasonal changes in the movement of moisture-laden air that collides with the sudden barrier of the Olympic and Cascade mountains bring Puget Sound the record-breaking precipitation for which it is so famous. These circulation and topographic differences also lead to remarkable climate differences within Puget Sound itself, influencing the species and habitats that are found in the Sound.
"Habitat" describes the physical and biological conditions that support a species or species assemblage and refers to conditions that exist at many scales. An oyster shell provides habitat for some algae and invertebrates, whereas cubic miles of sunlit water in Puget Sound comprise the habitat for many planktonic species.