Photo by Cheryl Lowe
Citizen Science Monitoring

Forage Fish Spawner Surveys

Forage fish (small fish that are prey for shorebirds, other fish and marine mammals) are a critical piece of the food web. Surf smelt and sand lance, two of the primary forage fish food species, lay their eggs in intertidal areas of local beaches. The MRC monitors two sites for forage fish spawning activity: Fort Townsend State Park (partnering with Point No Point Treaty Council) and a shoreline in Discovery Bay 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. See the Forage Fish project page for more info.

Fort Townsend SP Nearshore Changes

The nearshore restoration project at Fort Townsend State Park restored natural bluff connectivity and sediment transport along and across the shoreline, improving habitat for juvenile salmon, forage fish spawning and shore birds as well as 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. 

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 Jefferson MRC's bull kelp work or Northwest Straits regional kelp protection and recovery efforts.

Olympia Oyster Monitoring

MRC members and volunteers help monitor two Olympia oyster project sites in Discovery Bay. 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. Learn more about Jefferson MRC's Olympia oyster work here.

Citizen Science Monitoring