Event Title

Shoreline armoring in the Puget Sound: impacts on key habitat characteristics and prey availability for juvenile salmon in the Maury Island Aquatic Reserve

Presentation Abstract

Shoreline armoring is widespread in the Puget Sound, Washington, but the impacts on the biological features of nearshore ecosystems have only recently begun to be documented. Shoreline armoring disrupts the connection between marine and terrestrial ecosystems along the shoreline and can decrease the availability of prey resources for juvenile salmon. Most previous work has been conducted in highly urban areas, and this study aims to strengthen our understanding of residentially-developed, high-bank shorelines characteristic of the central Puget Sound. Here we determine differences in shoreline vegetation, terrestrial insect assemblages, wrack coverage and composition, and fish assemblages between armored and unarmored beaches. Citizen scientists with Vashon Nature Center’s BeachNET program collected data in the summers of 2016 and 2017 at three beaches following protocols from the Washington Sea Grant’s Shoreline Monitoring Toolbox. Forage fish spawning surveys from 2016 suggest that natural shorelines host a greater diversity of spawning fish at these sites. Preliminary results from snorkel surveys indicate higher abundance and diversity of fish at natural beaches. Furthermore, natural beaches appear to have more terrestrial vegetation, more native plant species, and increased terrestrial invertebrates. Further analysis will compare abundance and taxa richness of invertebrates, focusing on key juvenile salmon prey species. This study suggests shoreline armoring may alter shoreline conditions and decrease the availability of prey resources for key juvenile salmon species in residentially-developed shorelines of the Puget Sound.

Session Title

Posters: Habitat Restoration & Protection

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-67

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Shoreline armoring in the Puget Sound: impacts on key habitat characteristics and prey availability for juvenile salmon in the Maury Island Aquatic Reserve

Shoreline armoring is widespread in the Puget Sound, Washington, but the impacts on the biological features of nearshore ecosystems have only recently begun to be documented. Shoreline armoring disrupts the connection between marine and terrestrial ecosystems along the shoreline and can decrease the availability of prey resources for juvenile salmon. Most previous work has been conducted in highly urban areas, and this study aims to strengthen our understanding of residentially-developed, high-bank shorelines characteristic of the central Puget Sound. Here we determine differences in shoreline vegetation, terrestrial insect assemblages, wrack coverage and composition, and fish assemblages between armored and unarmored beaches. Citizen scientists with Vashon Nature Center’s BeachNET program collected data in the summers of 2016 and 2017 at three beaches following protocols from the Washington Sea Grant’s Shoreline Monitoring Toolbox. Forage fish spawning surveys from 2016 suggest that natural shorelines host a greater diversity of spawning fish at these sites. Preliminary results from snorkel surveys indicate higher abundance and diversity of fish at natural beaches. Furthermore, natural beaches appear to have more terrestrial vegetation, more native plant species, and increased terrestrial invertebrates. Further analysis will compare abundance and taxa richness of invertebrates, focusing on key juvenile salmon prey species. This study suggests shoreline armoring may alter shoreline conditions and decrease the availability of prey resources for key juvenile salmon species in residentially-developed shorelines of the Puget Sound.