Laura Brophy, Green Point Consulting, has developed this series of projects aimed at identifying, restoring and then monitoring estuarine wetlands in the Yaquina Bay system. The Wetland & Watershed Assessment Group at EDC is assisting in the monitoring of macrobenthic invertebrates at these sites.
The goal of this project is to restore tidal flow and salmonid habitat functions at three diked, formerly-tidal wetland sites (92A total) in the Yaquina basin. These sites comprise the first major estuarine wetland restoration activity in the Yaquina basin. Both sites are owned by large industrial timber companies (Georgia-Pacific West and Simpson Timber). The sites were prioritized in the MCWC’s Estuarine Wetland Site Prioritization study, funded by OWEB and conducted by Green Point Consulting in 1999.
The project includes extensive participation by MCWC stakeholders including industrial timber landowners and resource agencies. Georgia-Pacific West Inc. will fund site work and required permits. Simpson Timber
Company will provide funds for site work, monitoring and required permits. Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will provide project management. ODFW will provide fish monitoring before and after restoration. U.S. EPA will provide annual aerial photography for monitoring of vegetation and tidal channel development, and GIS support including digital orthophotography and ArcView shapefiles. South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Division of State Lands, Oregon State University’s Dept. of Geosciences and College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington’s Wetland Ecosystem Team, and USFWS will provide technical input on monitoring, implementation and adaptive management. Local coordination will be provided by the Lincoln County Planning Department. The Yaquina Basin Planning Team will provide communications for education and public awareness of project goals. Toledo Public Schools and Oregon State University will provide faculty and student time and materials for student involvement in monitoring activities & public education outreach.
Restoration work will include removal of man-made alterations (dikes, ditches) which impair tidal flow and reduce salmonid habitat functions. Public informational meetings and school/university involvement will provide educational outreach.
In accordance with MCWC policy, all restoration work will include monitoring to establish baseline conditions, guide project implementation, and evaluate project success. Baseline monitoring will document current conditions. Monitoring will be duplicated at reference sites to allow accurate interpretation. Effectiveness of restoration work will be determined through baseline and follow-up monitoring of vegetation, macroinvertebrates and channel morphology.
Invertebrates were collected in fallout traps and by benthic coring using protocols used at other major tidal wetland restoration projects in Oregon, including the Salmon River estuary and South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Exchange of monitoring data with the scientific community involved in those projects will help to advance the state of the art of estuarine restoration in Oregon. A key component of the monitoring protocol is the use of reference sites. Reference sites will make it possible to determine whether habitat changes in the restoration sites are due to the restoration activity itself, or due to larger-scale changes in the estuary.