Photo by Cheryl Lowe
Citizen Science Monitoring

Bull Kelp Monitoring

MRC members and volunteers are using kayak-based monitoring protocols to measure the size and health of local bull kelp beds. This is part of a regional Northwest Straits Initiative project that helps state agencies understand more about long-term changes in bull kelp populations. Learn more about kelp protection and recovery at the Northwest Straits

Forage Fish Spawner Surveys

Forage fish (small fish that are food for larger fish, shorebirds and marine mammals) are an important piece of the food web. Two important species lay their eggs in the intertidal area of local beaches: surf smelt and sand lance. The MRC is now monitoring two sites for forage fish spawning activity: Fort Townsend State Park, in partnership with Point No Point Treaty Council biologists and a section of Discovery Bay shoreline near Adelma Beach. Both sand lance and surf smelt eggs have been found at both sites. This long-term effort helps fill data gaps for fishery managers.

Fort Townsend SP Nearshore Changes

The Fort Townsend nearshore restoration project restored natural erosion and sediment transport along and across the shoreline, creating better habitat for juvenile salmon, forage fish spawning and shore birds while improving public access to the beach. We helped measure beach characteristic changes and confirmed that Pacific sand lance and surf smelt, two species of forage fish, continue to use this beach almost every year as spawning habitat. 

Olympia Oyster Monitoring

MRC members and volunteers help monitor our two Olympia oyster project sites in Discovery and Quilcene Bays. (See our Olympia Oyster project page for more details.) Volunteers currently help distribute shell in project areas and measure size and quantity of spat found on the shells in annual surveys. In the past, volunteers helped move Olympia oysters “out of harms way” during restoration activities, conducted surveys to find Olympias on local beaches, and helped monitor reintroduction sites

Citizen Science Monitoring