We’re in Portland, OR at the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting of the SNVB and PARC

02.24.2015

February 24-27th we’ll be at The Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology and Northwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Joint Annual Meeting in Portland, OR. Keep an eye out for our conference speakers or email them for information on their presentation.

See our presenters: Wednesday /1:15 PM in the Gevurtz Room | Evaluating Marine Nearshore Connectivity: An Exercise for the Bellingham Bay Shoreline | Presented by ilogan [at] esassoc [dot] com (Ilon Logan) and jredman [at] esassoc [dot] com (Jessica Redman)

Abstract: Bellingham Bay once consisted of expansive tidal flats enriched by multiple freshwater rivers, eelgrass beds, and mixed sand-gravel beaches. Major alterations to these marine nearshore habitats resulted from over 100 years of industrial uses and today, alongshore (waterward) and marine riparian (landward) connectivity are substantially impaired in some locations. To provide information to the Port and City of Bellingham’s Waterfront District redevelopment process, we evaluated connectivity in 20 geographic units of the Bellingham Bay shoreline using a qualitative model. Each unit was assessed, for both the marine and terrestrial environments, based on habitat patch size and alteration, permeability within the unit, and permeability to the adjacent unit. Several elements were evaluated including sediment transport, organic material import and export, and organism mobility. The analysis indicates a strong relationship between development and relative connectivity. Overall, units containing developed features scored lower than units that were less developed and contained natural beaches and estuaries, and free of tidal restrictions. The dominant feature affecting connectivity along both the marine and terrestrial axes is the BNSF railway line, whereas industrial ports, marinas, docks and piers inhibit or limit the transport of sediment and organisms alongshore. The assessment reflects the role of human activity on nearshore connectivity and the relationship to potential restoration actions. Restoring patches of habitat may provide a set of “stepping stones” through the central waterfront, thereby improving habitat connectivity within a matrix of nearshore development.