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USGS Study of Nearshore Habitats to Aid Puget Sound Recovery Attracts Media Attention

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Lisa Gee and Collin Smith.
Above: Lisa Gee and Collin Smith, biologists with the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center, empty the contents of a plankton net into a sample vial for later analysis. [larger version]

Work by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists on Liberty Bay in Puget Sound was reported in the Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, Wash.) in two separate news stories, on April 28 and May 3, 2006. The scientists are looking for clues on how urbanization affects the health of the sound, which is the second-largest estuary in the Nation. (The largest is Chesapeake Bay.)

Puget Sound's health has degraded over time, largely as a result of changes in habitats along the nearshore, a biologically critical area. Extending from the high-water mark on the shore to the point in the sound where sunlight doesn't reach the bottom, the nearshore is one of the most biologically productive areas in the Sound.

In Liberty Bay, scientists from the USGS Biology, Geology, Geography, and Water Resources disciplines are

  • measuring currents, salinity, and sediment grain size to understand physical processes operating in the bay;
  • sampling water and sediment to analyze for evidence of pollution;
  • sampling and analyzing plankton, fish, and shellfish to understand the food chain; and
  • investigating the distribution and density of eelgrass, which stabilizes sediment and provides a rich habitat for wildlife (see related Sound Waves article, "Eelgrass in Puget Sound—A New Study of Flow, Sediment Transport, and Zostera marina").

The Liberty Bay investigation is one of three focus studies in the USGS Coastal Habitats In Puget Sound (CHIPS) program. Enabled through funding secured by U.S. Representative Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the USGS CHIPS program will provide scientific information needed to restore and preserve the sound and to support the goals of the Puget Sound Partnership (see news release), recently convened by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire. The USGS has scientific expertise and experience in large-scale recovery efforts, notably the restoration of Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes.

To read the Kitsap Sun stories about the USGS Liberty Bay work, see "Liberty Bay Study Examines Impact of Urban Growth" and "Scientists Wrap Up Liberty Bay Study".

Related Sound Waves Stories
USGS Team Studying Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound Wins Award for Innovation in Integrated Science
November 2005
Deltaic Habitats in Puget Sound—Natural Versus Human-Related Change
Dec. 2004 / Jan. 2005
Eelgrass in Puget Sound—A New Study of Flow, Sediment Transport, and Zostera marina
September 2004

Related Web Sites
Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS) - USGS Fact Sheet 2006-3081
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Liberty Bay Study Examines Impact of Urban Growth
Kitsap Sun (requires free registration)
Scientists Wrap Up Liberty Bay Study
Kitsap Sun (requires free registration)
Gov. Gregoire: Restore and Protect Puget Sound
Office of Governor Christine Gregoire News Release
Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership
cooperative effort to preserve Puget Sound

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cover story:
Limited Reproductive Success for Endangered California Clapper Rail

USGS Studies Aid Puget Sound Recovery

Outreach USGS Scientist Interviewed About Threats to Coral Reefs

USGS FISC Participates in 2006 Marine Quest

Geography Team Visits USGS Woods Hole Science Center

USGS Participates in Career Fairs at MIT

USGS Scientist Attends Annual Field Trip for 20th Year

National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competitors Tour Laboratories in Woods Hole

WHSTEP Science and Math Safari Explores Use of Sound in Ocean Research

Meetings First International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat

USGS GIS 2006 Workshop

USGS Biologist Contributes Technical Expertise to Dive-Rescue Class

Awards USGS Biologist Honored by Fish and Wildlife Service

Staff New Oceanographic Data System Manager in Woods Hole

Publications June 2006 Publications List

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)