Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Long term studies reveal the complex dynamics and interconnectivity of the physical, geomorphic, biological systems of Salish Sea shorelines and how these systems interact with social and political systems

Description

Washington State runs the largest ferry system in the United States and expansion of passenger only fast ferry (POFF) service to connect smaller communities with downtown Seattle is important for economic growth of these communities. In 2000, a class action lawsuit forced Washington State Ferries to slow high speed POFFs operating on the Seattle-Bremerton route due to shoreline impacts on private properties through wake sensitive Rich Passage. Shortly thereafter, POFF service was discontinued on the route and it was clear a different approach was required.

In 2004, a science based research program was initiated to measure baseline physical and biological shoreline variability, develop models to assess impacts from candidate vessels, and to establish new criteria for POFF operation in Rich Passage. The research program was coupled with stakeholder engagement to disseminate scientific findings and gather feedback from property owners to compare these findings against their perception.

The stakeholder engagement program was successful in two ways. First, the science team built credibility with property owners through transparent dissemination of data and knowledge. Second, property owners informed the science team by sharing visual observations and their perception of how high speed wakes cause beach erosion. The feedback process helped the science team to more efficiently and effectively understand the relative importance of natural and wake-related erosion.

Stakeholder engagement was also key to the selection and acceptance of a new low wake vessel designed specifically for Rich Passage. Successful field testing with the new vessel provided a robust validation of the overall research methodology and its emphasis on long term data. This presentation will discuss the methods used and lessons learned in engaging stakeholders in a long term scientific based research program.

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The value of stakeholder engagement in a long term scientific research program in Puget Sound

2016SSEC

Washington State runs the largest ferry system in the United States and expansion of passenger only fast ferry (POFF) service to connect smaller communities with downtown Seattle is important for economic growth of these communities. In 2000, a class action lawsuit forced Washington State Ferries to slow high speed POFFs operating on the Seattle-Bremerton route due to shoreline impacts on private properties through wake sensitive Rich Passage. Shortly thereafter, POFF service was discontinued on the route and it was clear a different approach was required.

In 2004, a science based research program was initiated to measure baseline physical and biological shoreline variability, develop models to assess impacts from candidate vessels, and to establish new criteria for POFF operation in Rich Passage. The research program was coupled with stakeholder engagement to disseminate scientific findings and gather feedback from property owners to compare these findings against their perception.

The stakeholder engagement program was successful in two ways. First, the science team built credibility with property owners through transparent dissemination of data and knowledge. Second, property owners informed the science team by sharing visual observations and their perception of how high speed wakes cause beach erosion. The feedback process helped the science team to more efficiently and effectively understand the relative importance of natural and wake-related erosion.

Stakeholder engagement was also key to the selection and acceptance of a new low wake vessel designed specifically for Rich Passage. Successful field testing with the new vessel provided a robust validation of the overall research methodology and its emphasis on long term data. This presentation will discuss the methods used and lessons learned in engaging stakeholders in a long term scientific based research program.