Skagit Nearshore/Pocket Estuary Restoration Planning and Evaluation
Eric Beamer and Aundrea McBride of the Skagit River System Cooperative are now presenting on juvenile chinook salmon orgin and non-natal use of small streams in the Whidbey Basin.
Successful observations included finding food and places for safety the chinook. One example was a restoration work at Lone Tree Lagoon and Creek, where a culvert was removed and opened them up for fish to have better access. The data show fish distribution before and after, with the culvert removed, there was an abundant movement fish into the upper part of the creek.
The tribes looked at data 2 years before and 2 years after the restoration, there was pretty good evidence using the small streams like pocket estuaries, once given the opportunities.
The pattern of presence of chinook included when the watershed size was 300 acres, so even a pretty small watershed has a chinook presence, Beamer said.
If you recapture the same individual you can identify tha fish very very easily. it’s a slam dunk, we stumbled into recaptures.
The question – So what? are we protecting small streams and their watersheds as chinook habitat? they’re so small, they’re so easy to disturb. Are the regulations adequate enough? are our tools adequate, such as mapping? the answer yes, sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Two sites in Whidbey Basin were chosen for examination to determine the feasibility of restoring pocket estuary habitat. Questions they wanted to answer included if they restore the habitat will other fish use it, and if restored, will the restored habitat continue to be sustainable?
Scientists applied tools to two restoration scenarios at Possession Park and Camano Island State Park. These tools included using sediment data and hydraulic geometry and landscape-scale context.