Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project
The Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) is a large-scale ecosystem study of the Puget Sound led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with support from other state, local and federal agencies, tribes, industries and environmental organizations.
ESA is supporting PSNERP on multiple aspects of this project. We led the effort to develop a technical manual describing 21 different Management Measures for Protecting and Restoring the Puget Sound Nearshore. The report also describes how to effectively implement those measures to accomplish process-based restoration in the Puget Sound.
As lead contractor, we have been responsible for developing conceptual restoration designs for nearshore sites throughout Puget Sound. The team assessed and characterized restoration opportunities and constraints on 44 sites representing a wide range of geomorphic systems. ESA developed ecological screening criteria to ensure that the restoration opportunities were consistent with the process-based restoration principles developed by the PSNERP Nearshore Science Team. For each site that met the screening criteria, the ESA team developed two restoration alternatives: a full restoration option that fully removes ecosystem stressors and a partial restoration option that recognizes site constraints such as property ownership. As part of this effort, we developed a set of Applied Geomorphic Guidelines to support the design of tidal inlets, beach profiles, tidal channels, and marshplain restoration.
ESA’s conceptual design report presents restoration alternatives in terms of ecological effectiveness and engineering feasibility. It identifies all of the major restoration elements, the expected ecological evolution of each site, the restoration risks and uncertainties, and the response of the restored site to climate change, such as sea level rise. The goal of this work is to provide adequate detail to enable PSNERP to evaluate restoration costs and benefits and select a suite of sites and actions that will comprise a strategic nearshore restoration strategy for Puget Sound.