Abstract Title

Session S-06H: Puget Sound Shorelines and the Impacts of Armoring: State of the Science 2014

Keywords

Shorelines

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 3:00 PM

Description

Seawall armoring is ubiquitous along developed shorelines worldwide, but its effects on fish and crabs are poorly understood. In related studies, we compared habitat use between three nearshore sites that were modified by seawalls and three unarmored reference beaches with minimal anthropogenic structure in Elliott Bay, Washington. Snorkel surveys at the surface and scuba surveys at the bottom of the water column suggested that seawall armoring affects the species assemblage structures of fish and crabs in intertidal and shallow subtidal areas. Flatfish in particular were negatively impacted by seawall presence and occurred in lower densities at seawall sites than reference beaches. Additionally, all observations of larval fish and black rockfish Sebastes melanops occurred at the reference beach Olympic Sculpture Park. Diet sampling from juvenile Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. captured at these sites suggested that seawall armoring also influences diet composition, especially by reducing benthic and epibenthic prey consumption. These results suggest that seawall armoring can influence the use of nearshore habitats by fish in Puget Sound.

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May 1st, 1:30 PM May 1st, 3:00 PM

Assessing the effects of seawall armoring on fish in Elliott Bay, Washington

Room 607

Seawall armoring is ubiquitous along developed shorelines worldwide, but its effects on fish and crabs are poorly understood. In related studies, we compared habitat use between three nearshore sites that were modified by seawalls and three unarmored reference beaches with minimal anthropogenic structure in Elliott Bay, Washington. Snorkel surveys at the surface and scuba surveys at the bottom of the water column suggested that seawall armoring affects the species assemblage structures of fish and crabs in intertidal and shallow subtidal areas. Flatfish in particular were negatively impacted by seawall presence and occurred in lower densities at seawall sites than reference beaches. Additionally, all observations of larval fish and black rockfish Sebastes melanops occurred at the reference beach Olympic Sculpture Park. Diet sampling from juvenile Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. captured at these sites suggested that seawall armoring also influences diet composition, especially by reducing benthic and epibenthic prey consumption. These results suggest that seawall armoring can influence the use of nearshore habitats by fish in Puget Sound.