Sharing our wealth of knowledge and modeling strategies are keys to connecting current challenges to new solutions. The following presentations offer a tiny taste of what’s happening in the watershed and some strategies that are working. Regardless of location, the essence of these solutions could be translated throughout the watershed.
Community Salmon Investigation on Longfellow Creek Kathryn Davis Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
Each fall, thousands of Coho return to Puget Sound to spawn in their native streams. Unfortunately, as returning Coho migrate through urban systems, they are met by high quantities of polluted runoff, which is a toxic mix of chemicals that washes off of paved surfaces during heavy rainfall causing pre-spawn mortality. Returning Coho can die in as little as 2.5 hours. Longfellow Creek which empties into the lower Duwamish River and drains much of West Seattle, has high rates of pre-spawn mortality from 60% - 100% on Longfellow (compared to 1% in non-urban streams). In 2015, PSA surveyed Longfellow Creek Coho salmon run, recording numbers of returning salmon, documented symptomatic fish, and investigated salmon carcasses for evidence of pre-spawn mortality. These findings were compared to historic data from Longfellow Creek surveys conducted by Seattle Public Utilities and NOAA. This presentation will include a discussion of these findings as well as examples of possible solutions to the issue of pre-spawn mortality.
Newaukum Creek: An Approach in Precision Coordinated Investment Leif Fixen, American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust is leading an innovative “coordinated investment” with both public and non-profit partners to coordinate and concentrate innovative water quality improvement projects in Newaukum Creek to improve both water quality, and agricultural viability in the community while being easily replicated in agricultural communities throughout the Puget Sound, state, and country. To ensure maximum benefits within the watershed, AFT is applying a targeted approach to project implementation, working in partnership with state, local, and tribal entities to undertake GIS and water quality testing data analysis to identify priority reaches and locations for project recruitment. Additionally, the project has a focus of developing improved methodology to evaluate and qualify conservation outcomes achieved through implementation of conservation projects within the watershed. Our monitoring methodology will include instituting ‘Discovery Farms’ within the watershed - a program involving on-farm systems research and evaluation of BMPs to gather credible and unbiased water quality impacts information. AFT’s ultimate goal is to create blue-prints for others to follow on how to combine different funding sources and approaches to establish optimal outcomes for the health of the watershed and the vitality of the agricultural community.
Stewardship for the long haul.... Dhira Brown, EarthCorps Using a restoration success story as a case study, EarthCorps will share stories, strategies and program design details that have made the Puget Sound Steward program an effective model of building stewardship capacity along previously “unloved” stretches of the Duwamish River. Successful restoration requires tenacity and commitment. Many great restoration efforts have failed after the first year or two because they have not been consistently maintained. This presentation will show how the Puget Sound Steward Program: (1) Ensures healthy urban nearshore restoration sites that function in ways that benefit wildlife, people and the surrounding land and water; (2) Connects individuals to the land while empowering them to lead the community in active restoration of their land and water; (3) Educates the community in the importance of protecting and restoring nearshore habitat; (4) Encourages collaboration by building partnership and expanding existing connections (5) Demonstrates a sustainable and replicable long-term stewardship model for other urban nearshore restoration sites.
If You Build It They Will Come: Lessons learned from 20 years of monitoring habitat restoration in the Duwamish Estuary Jeff Cordell, Jason Toft, University of Washington Wetland Ecosystem Team Over the past 20 years, a number of habitat restoration sites of various configurations have been constructed in the Duwamish River Estuary. We began monitoring juvenile salmon and other fish use and their invertebrate prey resources at many of these sites beginning in the early 1990s and continuing through to the present. We have learned that in most cases fish and invertebrates will quickly occupy restoration sites, but we also learned that factors such as site configuration (site size, elevation and access) and location within the estuary can have important influences on how well restoration sites function. We hope to discuss how our continuing habitat monitoring can best inform all of the stakeholders attending this symposium.