Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Tackling Ocean Acidification in the Salish Sea: Six creative projects that explore mitigation, adaptation and messaging

Description

Local Marine Resource Committees and regional partners are implementing Olympia oyster restoration and enhancement projects in areas identified as priority sites in a regional Plan (Rebuilding Olympia Oyster (Ostrea lurida) Populations in Puget Sound. WDFW, 2012). These projects initially focused on conservation of the species and associated habitat to re-establish and rebuild natural native oyster assemblages. It turns out that this native species is also important for mitigating the effects of acidification and strengthening the resiliency of marine waters against changing seawater chemistry, especially in smaller, local bays. In 2010, NOAA, tribes, Washington State, shellfish growers and NGOs initiated a project to restore 100 acres of native oyster beds by 2020 based on a finding by the Nature Conservancy that “shellfish reefs are the most imperiled marine habitat on earth.” In 2012, the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification (OA) identified expansion of native oyster populations as a recommended action to mitigate effects of OA.

Because Olympia oysters are brooders, the larvae are protected during early stages of development and thus more resilient to water chemistry changes. Olympia oyster reefs, once established, could filter pollutants, provide important habitat for juvenile salmon and other marine species, and stabilize important marine habitats.

Clallam, Jefferson and Skagit MRCs have focused on Olympia oyster populations in Discovery Bay, Sequim Bay, Washington Harbor, Quilcene Bay and Fidalgo Bay. Project activities range from monitoring remnant populations to introducing oyster seed or habitat structure. Projects are conducted in partnership with WDFW and Tribal shellfish experts, State agencies, local commercial shellfish growers, and salmon enhancement groups. MRCs also use these projects to excite and engage local citizens in restoration work and increase public understanding of OA while providing a venue for beneficial actions that make a difference.

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Olympia Oyster Projects by MRCs for Conservation and OA Resilience

2016SSEC

Local Marine Resource Committees and regional partners are implementing Olympia oyster restoration and enhancement projects in areas identified as priority sites in a regional Plan (Rebuilding Olympia Oyster (Ostrea lurida) Populations in Puget Sound. WDFW, 2012). These projects initially focused on conservation of the species and associated habitat to re-establish and rebuild natural native oyster assemblages. It turns out that this native species is also important for mitigating the effects of acidification and strengthening the resiliency of marine waters against changing seawater chemistry, especially in smaller, local bays. In 2010, NOAA, tribes, Washington State, shellfish growers and NGOs initiated a project to restore 100 acres of native oyster beds by 2020 based on a finding by the Nature Conservancy that “shellfish reefs are the most imperiled marine habitat on earth.” In 2012, the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification (OA) identified expansion of native oyster populations as a recommended action to mitigate effects of OA.

Because Olympia oysters are brooders, the larvae are protected during early stages of development and thus more resilient to water chemistry changes. Olympia oyster reefs, once established, could filter pollutants, provide important habitat for juvenile salmon and other marine species, and stabilize important marine habitats.

Clallam, Jefferson and Skagit MRCs have focused on Olympia oyster populations in Discovery Bay, Sequim Bay, Washington Harbor, Quilcene Bay and Fidalgo Bay. Project activities range from monitoring remnant populations to introducing oyster seed or habitat structure. Projects are conducted in partnership with WDFW and Tribal shellfish experts, State agencies, local commercial shellfish growers, and salmon enhancement groups. MRCs also use these projects to excite and engage local citizens in restoration work and increase public understanding of OA while providing a venue for beneficial actions that make a difference.