Data related to each set of the beach seine net: site, date, time, and environmental characteristics.
Elwha Master Datafile
Nearshore marine ecosystems (intertidal and shallow subtidal) play a key role in the life cycles of many forage fish and other commercially and ecologically important species, and have undergone extensive human modification including construction of bulkheads along the shore, erection of piers and docks, dredging and filling, removal of riparian vegetation, and pollution. Nearshore regions are also particularly susceptible to climate variability, extreme storm events, and sea level rise. Understanding the dynamics of the primary species utilizing these nearshore systems is critical to understanding the populations that inhabit this dynamic habitat and preserving their various ecosystem functions.
Since 2006, we have monitored the species composition and relative abundance of nearshore fish, including salmonids and forage fish in the Central Strait of Juan de Fuca and extending into Puget Sound. Our primary goals are to describe population dynamics of the dominant forage fish species (Pacific herring, Surf smelt, and Pacific sand lance), and to evaluate responses of the nearshore fish community to dam removals on the Elwha River.
We are working in the following areas:
Elwha River dam removal response: 5 years of monitoring along 30+km of coastline in the Strait of Juan de Fuca prior to dam removal (2006-2011)and 5 years of post-dam removal monitoring through September 2017 (we did not sample in 2009 and 2013). Monthly beach seining April – October used for data collection. We are examining how different species and life stages of forage fish and salmonids respond to changes in nearshore habitat conditions and the effects of sediment changes resulting from dam removal on estuarine and near coastal biota.
Forage fish population dynamics: The major focus of forage fish conservation efforts has been on managing fishing pressure to increase numbers. Less attention has been placed on other anthropogenic factors such as habitat loss, yet this has had extensive impacts in nearshore marine (intertidal and shallow subtidal) areas. We have evaluating spatial and temporal variability in the forage fish community associated with nearshore habitats over a 10-year period in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and relating patterns to local and regional factors This data is currently being combined with other datasets throughout Puget Sound and the Salish sea to give insight into possible drivers of recent regional collapses in Herring populations (such as Cherry Point). Findings are also documenting shifts in historical spawning beds, and giving a baseline for genetic work documenting the stock variability and potential threats to these single large or perhaps multiple small populations of Pacific herring Surf smelt and Pacific Sand lance
These long-term data sets are the result of collaborative efforts between NOAA and tribal, state, and federal partners. These efforts are critical to understanding the importance of nearshore habitats to ecologically and commercially valuable fish species (including federally listed species) and will help with the development of fisheries management, coastal development, and restoration plans impacting the nearshore marine environment.
For this project, the data was stored in .xls and access files.
Elwha dam removal neashore monitoring and Salish Sea forage fish assessment