Abstract Title

Session S-07E: Aquatic Vegetation

Keywords

Habitat

Start Date

1-5-2014 3:30 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 5:00 PM

Description

As part of a larger program by the state of Washington to restore the Puget Sound ecosystem, we are engaged in a selection process to locate specific areas where eelgrass could be restored or enhanced to meet the goal of 20% more eelgrass by 2020, amounting to a ~4,000 ha increase in areal eelgrass coverage. Embedded in this goal is the establishment and development of meadows that are resilient to the effects of climate change and anthropogenic and natural disturbances. We hypothesize that: (1) many sites are recruitment limited; (2) eelgrass has been lost in some areas because of temporary disturbance; and (3) there may be broader stresses limiting eelgrass in subregions of Puget Sound. Our approach utilizes an understanding of eelgrass growth requirements coupled with hydrodynamic and water quality models, an eelgrass growth model, field observations, and test plantings. We are using these results along with spatial data and stressor information collected as part of regional assessments of nearshore ecosystem condition to identify restoration sites. We are also working with local governments to determine actions that could be taken to improve conditions for eelgrass within their jurisdictions to maximize the success and long-term viability of planted meadows. The models revealed differences in the predicted growth rate of eelgrass among regions. In general, northern Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca provided the best conditions, whereas Hood Canal and southern Puget Sound were relatively less suitable for eelgrass. Field visits were conducted at 23 sites where the eelgrass model predicted good growing conditions but where eelgrass does not presently exist based on available information. From among these sites we selected five sites for test planting. Test plantings, modeling and jurisdictional information will form the basis to develop strategies for larger recovery efforts.

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May 1st, 3:30 PM May 1st, 5:00 PM

20% More Eelgrass in Puget Sound by 2020: Restoration Site Selection

Room 613-614

As part of a larger program by the state of Washington to restore the Puget Sound ecosystem, we are engaged in a selection process to locate specific areas where eelgrass could be restored or enhanced to meet the goal of 20% more eelgrass by 2020, amounting to a ~4,000 ha increase in areal eelgrass coverage. Embedded in this goal is the establishment and development of meadows that are resilient to the effects of climate change and anthropogenic and natural disturbances. We hypothesize that: (1) many sites are recruitment limited; (2) eelgrass has been lost in some areas because of temporary disturbance; and (3) there may be broader stresses limiting eelgrass in subregions of Puget Sound. Our approach utilizes an understanding of eelgrass growth requirements coupled with hydrodynamic and water quality models, an eelgrass growth model, field observations, and test plantings. We are using these results along with spatial data and stressor information collected as part of regional assessments of nearshore ecosystem condition to identify restoration sites. We are also working with local governments to determine actions that could be taken to improve conditions for eelgrass within their jurisdictions to maximize the success and long-term viability of planted meadows. The models revealed differences in the predicted growth rate of eelgrass among regions. In general, northern Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca provided the best conditions, whereas Hood Canal and southern Puget Sound were relatively less suitable for eelgrass. Field visits were conducted at 23 sites where the eelgrass model predicted good growing conditions but where eelgrass does not presently exist based on available information. From among these sites we selected five sites for test planting. Test plantings, modeling and jurisdictional information will form the basis to develop strategies for larger recovery efforts.