Event Title

Establishing deep benthic community reference stations in Puget Sound

Presentation Abstract

Benthic infauna and epifauna live in intimate contact with the sediment. While often overlooked, they are an important component of the marine benthos and can be a useful indicator of overall environmental and sediment quality. King County routinely monitors benthic infauna near wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) outfalls in Puget Sound’s Central Basin concurrent with sediment chemistry monitoring. While chemical concentrations can provide information about potential impacts to biological communities, the species assemblage and abundance of infauna within the benthic community can provide an assessment of actual impacts. To make this assessment, it is imperative to evaluate these data against an appropriate reference station. This is necessary, as significant interannual variability of species composition and abundance are expected. Depth and physical sediment characteristics, such as grain size and to a lesser extent organic carbon content, are also important factors in determining what species are likely to inhabit a given area. Several regionally-accepted shallow (< 35 m) reference stations exist, but stations with depths and sediment characteristics similar to WWTP outfalls are needed. To identify suitable deep (75 to 200 m) marine benthic infauna reference stations, sediment samples and benthic infauna were collected at 15 prospective reference sites in Central Puget Sound. Sites were originally chosen based on data available from Ecology’s EIM database, and had similar physical characteristics to samples previously collected near outfalls and no exceedances of Washington State’s Sediment Management Standards (SMS). Once sampled, physical conditions at potential reference stations were again compared to those near WWTP outfalls and chemistry results compared to SMS. For stations that meet these first two criteria, benthic community data will be evaluated (once available) using presence/absence of various indicator species as well as various indices to determine the most appropriate reference stations for future use for the County’s treatment plant outfalls.

Session Title

Posters: Monitoring: Species & Habitats

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-91

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

Establishing deep benthic community reference stations in Puget Sound

Benthic infauna and epifauna live in intimate contact with the sediment. While often overlooked, they are an important component of the marine benthos and can be a useful indicator of overall environmental and sediment quality. King County routinely monitors benthic infauna near wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) outfalls in Puget Sound’s Central Basin concurrent with sediment chemistry monitoring. While chemical concentrations can provide information about potential impacts to biological communities, the species assemblage and abundance of infauna within the benthic community can provide an assessment of actual impacts. To make this assessment, it is imperative to evaluate these data against an appropriate reference station. This is necessary, as significant interannual variability of species composition and abundance are expected. Depth and physical sediment characteristics, such as grain size and to a lesser extent organic carbon content, are also important factors in determining what species are likely to inhabit a given area. Several regionally-accepted shallow (< 35 m) reference stations exist, but stations with depths and sediment characteristics similar to WWTP outfalls are needed. To identify suitable deep (75 to 200 m) marine benthic infauna reference stations, sediment samples and benthic infauna were collected at 15 prospective reference sites in Central Puget Sound. Sites were originally chosen based on data available from Ecology’s EIM database, and had similar physical characteristics to samples previously collected near outfalls and no exceedances of Washington State’s Sediment Management Standards (SMS). Once sampled, physical conditions at potential reference stations were again compared to those near WWTP outfalls and chemistry results compared to SMS. For stations that meet these first two criteria, benthic community data will be evaluated (once available) using presence/absence of various indicator species as well as various indices to determine the most appropriate reference stations for future use for the County’s treatment plant outfalls.