Squaxin Island Tribe's Natural Resources

Squaxin Island Tribe's Natural Resource Department Weblog

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What the Heck is a Fresh Water Mussel?

November 21st, 2014 by Candace Penn Comments Off

 

Photo Courtesy of Marbet, Erika

Photo Courtesy of Marbet, Erica

The average individual could walk through a creek without even noticing these small gems. In fact most people are completely unaware of their existence. Freshwater bivalves are a kind of freshwater molluscs. They are bivalves which live in freshwater, as opposed to saltwater. The majority of species of bivalve molluscs live in the sea, but a number of different families live in freshwater. Fresh water mussels can thrive in many different habitats small ditches, lakes, canals, rivers and creeks. While walking Mill creek with our summer youth program employees we found hundreds of fresh water mussels. The species we found is the Western Pearlshell (shown in all pictures). The Xerces Society is dedicated to developing a variety of publications that educate people on how to identify and conserve fresh water mussels, as well as manage their habitat. “The Society uses advocacy, education, and applied research to defend invertebrates”. For more information about fresh water mussels of the pacific northwest visit, http://www.xerces.org/western-freshwater-mussels/.

photo courtesy of O'Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O’Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O'Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O’Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O'Connell, Emmett

Pictured is Rana Brown Shellfish Biologist photo courtesy of O’Connell, Emmett

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Telling South Sound Stories

October 23rd, 2014 by eoconnell Comments Off

The final presentation of the day is from Katie Campbell and Ashely Ahearn with Earthfix.  They work to get media coverage for all the wonderful work scientists are doing all over the Puget Sound area.   Stressing to remember that when giving an interview that it’s not live, no one is trying to make you sound stupid and everything can be edited.  If you can aim your content toward 6th graders and relate your science to real people it’ll be easier to draw their interest.  Some times the story requires a picture or a video in order for the issue to hit home for the average person who is not in the scientific community.  Remember that scientists have their thumbs on the pulse of what is happening in our ecosystems and weather the information is good or bad it is our duty to share it with the rest of the world.

 

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Science-based strategies and unique partnerships to restore endangered species to South Sound Prairies

October 23rd, 2014 by Erica Marbet Comments Off

This talk is being given by Sarah Hamman of the Center for Natural Lands Management.
I’m jumping in a little late to blog this talk, but here we go.
Prescribed fire is a very important tool to remove scotch broom and non-native grasses from South Sound prairies. They have over fifty trained fire fighters (fire setters) who work on prescribed burns. Over the past decade, they have learned how to use fire to its greatest benfits. From 50 acres in 2005 to over 2500 acres burned in the past year. A hot headfire removes scotch broom. A low intensity low severity burn increases bare ground and stimulates germination. Once they complete a fire, they put seed on the ground. They have been adapting farming and agricultural practices to try to get as many native species on the ground as possible. Each species takes a different strategy.

They have been able to greatly increase the poundage of native seed production over the past decade. Field germination rates of native species are typically less than 25%, many less than 10%. Very low germination rates, which one of the reasons why these species are struggling in the first place.

The checker spot butterfly is very picky about where it germinates. It needs golden paintbrush, Indian paintbrush, and plantain. That went by fast. I need to check the exact name of those three species.

Women from the Sustainable Prisons Project helped grow plants and tend to butterflies in studies of butterfly preference.

Understanding the most efficient effective strategies for each step of restoration will help restore prairies successfully in the Pacific Northwest.

Some important, unique partnerships have been key to forwarding prairie restoration here. Joint Base Lewis McCord, Department of Corrections, Universities… The list was so long, that I could not write it out.

Comments OffTags: South Sound Science 14

Prairies in the Pacific Northwest- Natural history and current challenges in this conservation landscape

October 23rd, 2014 by Candace Penn Comments Off

untitledHannah Anderson Center for natural lands management;

A look at a lesser known precious and rare habitat, the prairies of the Puget sound. Human development has hit our prairies pretty hard. Habitat degradation is also a serious problem when it comes to prairie habitat restoration.  Large trees , oak grass, and scotch broom are species encroaching on prairie habitat.

“A rare habitat equals rare species” some of the species of concern include, Streak horned Lark, Pocket goffer, and checker spot butterfly (Pictured above).

One of the partners of CNLM is JBLM, the local military base. This base is one of the last highest quality habitats for the streak horned lark and the checker spot butterfly. The artillery range o base serves both the DOD and species of concern as well as endangered species like the checker spot butter fly.

The Sustainability in Prisons Project is another partner of CNLM they have partnered with Department of corrections to restore endangered species of prairie taxa. Having previously worked with this organization I have nothing but praise for all the work they have done in the realm of prairie management, plant production, and endangered/native species reestablishment.

In conclusion an overall restoration success!

 

Comments OffTags: South Sound Science 14

Monitoring and adaptive management of the Nisqually Delta after tidal marsh restoration

October 23rd, 2014 by admin Comments Off

Blogging by Sayre Hodgson, Chris’s collaborator at the Nisqually Indian Tribe’s natural resources department.

Chris Ellings following up on a previous talk in 2009 at this symposium, now that there is more to report on the restoration.

Historic condition- was very diverse habitat, but like most P.S. deltas it was diked for agriculture 1904-1910.  Luckily industrial development in the delta was avoided.  USFWS created the Nisqually Nat. Wildlife Refuge and Nisqually Indian Tribe purchased a farm on the other side of the river.  Now 900 acres of tidal area have been restored. This is the largest restoration project of its kind north of San Francisco Bay, hopefully more will happen.

Largescale process based monitoring – process- hydrodynamics, sediment supply, structure- habitat development, and biological response.

Looked at hydrology in restored and undisturbed areas, and freshwater marsh behind the dike prior to Sept 2009.  After restoration there was an incomplete tidal prism as channels developed and full tidal prism develops over time.

Channel development- short term responses were looked at by comparing cross sections before and after.  There was up to 1 m of erosion in the channels, organic matter was carried out by the tides.  Restoration impacted channel shapes outside of the diked area as well. Deposition on the seaward side of the dike was redistributing.  There were big channel changes outside the diked area to accommodate the new tidal prism.

Vegetation development- seeds were available, colonization happened quickly.  2002 phase 1 restoration has really nice vegetation coverage occurring.  Newly restored Madrone slough (NNWR) coverage of plants decreased- this is freshwater marsh dying, being replaced by mud, without a lot of vegetation colonization occurring yet, is predominantly mud.  What’s needed is sediment to come down the river and be distributed in the restoration area to build the marsh back up.  With climate change and sea level rise we need to keep pace to maintain salt marsh habitat as well.

With USGS we developed a sediment budget for the Nisqually River.  Over 50% of the sediment is not going into salt marshes, it’s pushed into mudflats and offshore, due to lack of distributaries and reduced sediment budget (approx. 92% of sediment is trapped by the dams upstream).

Fish use the channels since right after restoration.  High fish densities seen in restored channels.

Invertebrates- the restored site is producing similar species composition to reference sites.

UW student Aaron David did a bioenergetics study, found fish feeding in restored areas grew faster than those from reference areas, but with more variability due to temperature spikes, etc.

Otoliths (bone like structures in ear) show increase in time rearing in the delta for Chinook.  Perhaps density dependence was alleviated.

Many partners were involved in this research (USGS, USFWS- NNWR, Ducks Unlimited, Nisqually River Council, etc.)

 

Comments OffTags: South Sound Science 14

Bottomfish community composition throughout Puget Sound through the “eyes” of a robot: where does South Sound fit in?- Dayv Lowry- WDFW- #s42014

October 23rd, 2014 by Joseph Peters Comments Off

Stock assessment of bottomfish through the means of robots?  Yes robots! Trawling doesn’t work due to the mortality of species.  Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is deploying  the WDFW ROV, “robot” to survey bottomfish in Puget Sound.     So what do they see?  Well to quote Mr. Lowry, “what we see is awesome!”   They see flat fish and ratfish or they see mud. Many other species of bottomfish through out the Puget Sound.

Goals:  Abundance estimates and habitat evaluation Does it work Sound wide?

In their study they were able to identify three species of Puget Sound rockfish were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

BocaccioRockfish

Bocaccio as Endangered

 

Yellow Eye

Yellow Eye

 

Canary

Canary

 

WDFW determined that the use of the WDFW ROV is a non-destructive method to survey for groundfish abundance estimates and habitat evaluation Sound wide.

For more information on WDFW bottomfish studies go to:  http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/bottomfish/

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The China Shellfish ban – arenic levels in geoduck

October 23rd, 2014 by esparkman Comments Off

Dave McBride

In December of 2013 China banned all shellfish exports from the US west coast.  In Poverty Bay, Washington inorganic arsenic and in Ketchikan, Alaska Paralytic  Shellfish Poisoning toxin were found in geoduck.

Inorganic arsenic found naturally in rock, in the air, or areas where arsenic was used in agriculture.  The US doesn’t have an action level for inorganic arsenic however China is concerned about levels of arsenic found in food.

The Asarco smelter facility in Tacoma was thought to be a possible source of arsenic because of its proximity to the Poverty Bay site.

Testing of geoducks showed arsenic is concentrated mostly in the skin.  Wild geoduck tracts  and farm sites were tested for arsenic showed 8 wild sites in WA and 6 sites in AK showed elevated levels of arsenic.

Each harvest area must be tested and pass to be issued an export certificate to China.

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Geoduck aquaculture and the environment: Recent findings and future directions

October 23rd, 2014 by esparkman Comments Off

P. Sean McDonald:

Are transient and resident communities affected by geoduck culture?

The study looked at the disturbance caused by planting geoduck and the disturbance caused by the harvest of the geoducks.

Some transient species, (sea stars, crabs, cockles) showed an increase in abundance when culture gear was present while moon snails, flat fish and hermit crabs were more abundant in areas without gear.  Once gear was removed the transient communities returned to pre-gear placement assemblages.

When gear is present the resident polychete species show an increase while other species show no change  Post harvest resident communities showed no consistent patter with most species showing no change or an increase.

Transient data indicate post gear removal decreases transient species/taxa but they do seem to recover relatively quickly.

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Stormwater toxicity and green stormwater treatment- Jenifer McIntyre-WSU-#s42014

October 23rd, 2014 by Joseph Peters Comments Off

Urban stormwater run off is showing an effect on survival of both juvenile coho and pre-spawning  adults.

McIntyre shows a significant increase of mortality to coho due to stormwater runoff. Studies show if stormwater runoff is treated survival of coho improves.

IMG_20141023_112958_766

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Stormwater Toxicity and Green Stormwater Treatment

October 23rd, 2014 by eoconnell Comments Off

This talk is being given by Jenifer McIntyre from Washington State University.  NOAA Fisheries and USFW have collaborated on this project.

Stormwater runoff carries chemical contaminants. What their impact on aquatic life?

Examples: Metals, oil and grease, plasticizers…

Coho salmon are like a stormwater sentinal- they spend the first part of their lives in freshwater.  Also, there are very high rates of pre-spawner mortality in urban areas.  For example you can find dead adult females full of eggs.  They died before they spawned.

In a past  study they raised fish from eggs in untreated stormwater, versus treated (filtered) stormwater.  Eggs in the unfiltered water: High rates of death, low growth rates, cranial haemorrhaging.

In this study: Some invertebrates and zebrafish.

Six storm events.  Exposure to stormwater runoff from a highway.  Affects on zebrafish: death, small size, delay in hatching, swim bladder not inflating, small heart, deformed heart and jaw.  Or a developing fish will not escape from the chorion.  This was wh- en they brought water into the lab.

In 2012- Adult coho study- Expose adult coho to stormwater runoff.  They exposed coho to clean well water.  Another group exposed to stormwater runoff (including first seasonal flush events).  Adult fish exposed to stormwater lost ability to stay upright and showed other sublethal symptoms after 3.5 hours exposure.

Now they are looking at treated stormwater.  Exposing juvenile coho, mayfly nymphs, and mayflies.  Treating the stormwater prevented and also completely eliminated symptoms that would have normally been seen with straight stormwater.

In conclusion, soil bioretention, in other words treating stormwater runoff, can greatly reduce the damage caused to aquatic life from stormwater.

In areas where urbanization is occurring, we need to make sure development occurs in a way that stormwater can be treated.

Audience Question: What do you do with the bioretention material (sand and compost) after it has been used to filter stormwater?  McIntyre says: It will take many years to use up the capacity of these bioretention features.  They are studying the design life of these features.

Road runoff can affect saltwater species in the same way.  They have done studies in California on this.

This talk was very triking and disturbing, thought the potential to treat the stormwater looks promising.

Comments OffTags: South Sound Science 14