The Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) is a General Investigation study sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) in collaboration with universities, tribes, and environmental organizations.
The study is designed to improve understanding of the Puget Sound nearshore ecosystem, identify significant ecosystem problems, and develop potential restoration strategies and designs to address those problems. The goal of this work was to provide adequate detail to enable WDFW and the USACE 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.
ESA led development of the conceptual restoration designs, assessing and characterizing restoration opportunities and constraints on 44 sites across Puget Sound representing a wide range of geomorphic systems.
We developed criteria to screen the ecological factors of each site to ensure that restoration opportunities were consistent with process-based restoration principles developed by the project’s Nearshore Science Team. For each site that met the screening criteria, the ESA team developed two restoration alternatives: a full restoration option that completely removed artificial ecosystem stressors and a partial restoration option that recognized site constraints such as property ownership.
Our conceptual designs represent ecologically effective strategies. The Final Design Report identified all of the major restoration elements, the expected ecological evolution of each site, the restoration risks and uncertainties, and the expected response of the restored site to environmental changes such as sea level rise.
ESA’s coastal engineering team, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Point Blue, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Site Sentinel Cooperative, has developed the Natural Shoreline Infrastructure: Technical Guidance for the California Coast; a guideline and toolset for the implementation of natural infrastructure elements as accountable, effective, and sustainable solutions for protecting our shores against sea-level rise.