Proposal for Site Application by xnb21465

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									       Site Proposal Application
       Section 1 – New proposal, Boundary change, or De-Listing
       an Aquatic Reserve


       Please fill out the form as completely as possible. Answer those items that you know
       apply to the proposed site. Leave blank any questions to which you do not know the
       answer.
       (The site proposal application can be found at
       www.dnr.wa.gov/htdocs/aqr/reserves/home.html).
       Site Proponent
       Name: Nisqually Reach Nature Center
       Address: 4949 D’Milluhr Dr. NE, Olympia, WA 98516
       Phone: (360)-459-0387
       E-mail: nrnc@nisquallyestuary.org
       Primary contact: Daniel Hull
       Who have you cooperated with to develop the proposal?
       Nisqually Reach Nature Center Board, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington
       Department of Fish and Wildlife, Nisqually Tribe, Department of Natural Resources, Fort
       Lewis, and surrounding neighborhoods and jurisdictions.


       General site information

   A. Site location: Nisqually Reach in South Puget Sound from a line running northeasterly
      connecting Tolmie State Park to a point midway between the southern shoreline of
      McNeil Island and Anderson Island north of Eagle Island, following that line (black with
      red dots) eastward then connecting from a line running southeasterly to the Fort Lewis
      shoreline just south of the town of Steilacoom, then following that shoreline southerly to
      the outer boundary of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and continuing westerly
      then northwesterly along the Thurston County shoreline back to Tolmie State Park and
      including the entire shorelines of both Anderson and Ketron Islands. (see map in
      Appendix 1)



       B. Site Overview:
1. General site description (including acreage) Approximately 10,000 acres of state owned
aquatic lands in the Nisqually Reach area of South Puget Sound beyond the Nisqually National
Wildlife Refuge boundary.

       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 1 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
2. Boundaries description (include section, range and township, county) The boundaries of the
proposed reserve are in both Thurston and Pierce Counties adjacent to the following sections:
T19N, R1W, Sections 23 & 25 Thurston County
T19N, R1E, Sections 12, 14, 22, 27, 28 & 33 Pierce County Plus Anderson Island, Ketron Island
and Eagle Island.

3. Current ownership of privately and publicly owned (other than DNR) aquatic lands adjacent
   to the proposed site (include detailed ownership map).
   Current holdings of tidelands in the area include: Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge,
   Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fort Lewis, Burlington Northern Railroad,
   National Oyster Company, Tolmie State Park, and numerous privately owned tidelands,
   homeowner’s association leases, and local parks as shown in the attached Appendix 1 maps.
   Additional map(s) showing encumbrances of state owned aquatic lands produced by
   Washington Department of Natural Resources are also in Appendix 1.

4. Current county shoreline designation and description
       Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs) have been prepared as required by the Washington
       State Shoreline Management Act at various times by the three local government
       jurisdictions fronting on greater Nisqually Reach: Thurston County most recently in
       1990. Pierce County most recently updated in 1988. All local governments in Pierce and
       Thurston counties are required to update their SMPs by 2011.
       For purposes of these SMP characterizations only, the southerly shore of Nisqually Reach
       is defined as extending from Mill Bight (Thurston County) on the east, southeast to Luhr
       Beach and east across the face of the Nisqually Delta to approximately the mouth of Red
       Salmon Creek (Pierce County), thence northeasterly through the City of Dupont to Solo
       Point (Fort Lewis Military Reservation). The northerly shore is defined as extending from
       Treble Point (Anderson Island, Pierce County) on the east, thence southeast to the
       southern tip of Anderson Island, thence northeast (including the Oro Bay complex) to
       Sandy Point of Anderson Island.

       Thurston County
       Three shoreline designations apply to the shorelines of Nisqually Reach in Thurston
       County: Natural, Conservancy, and Rural.
       From Mill Bight southeast to Luhr Beach the shoreline is primarily designated Rural,
       with two small exceptions. The shorelines of Mill Bight and adjacent areas are designated
       Conservancy, as is an area between Beachcrest and Meridian Road at Hogum Bay. From
       Luhr Beach east to the Thurston–Pierce line at the Nisqually River is designated Natural;
       all of these lands are in government ownership, administered either by the Washington
       Department of Fish and Wildlife or by the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The
       following three paragraphs provide the basic definition of these three shoreline
       designations quoted from the Thurston County.
       The “Natural Environment” designates shoreline areas in which unique natural systems
       and resources are to be preserved or restored. This environment is characterized by
       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 2 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
severely limited land and water use with little or no visual evidence of man-developed
structures or occupancy. Development or utilization of soil, aquatic and forest resources,
as well as nonrenewable mineral and nonmineral resources is prohibited. Public access
and recreation are limited to a degree compatible with the preservation or restoration of
the unique character of this environment.
The “Conservancy Environment” designates shoreline areas for the protection,
conservation and management of existing valuable natural resources and historic and
cultural areas. This environment is characterized by low-intensity land use and moderate-
intensity water use with moderate to little visual evidence of permanent structures and
occupancy. Sustained management of the pastoral, aquatic and forest resources, as well
as rigidly controlled utilization of nonrenewable and other non-mineral resources which
do not result in long-term irreversible impacts on the natural character of the environment
are permitted. Intensity of recreation and public access may be limited by the capacity of
the environment for sustained recreational use.
The “Rural Environment” designates shoreline areas in which land will be protected from
high-density urban expansion and may function as a buffer between urban areas and the
shorelines proper. This environment is characterized by low intensity land use and
moderate to intensive water use. Residential development does not exceed two dwellings
per acre. Visual impact is variable with a moderate portion of the environment dominated
by structures of impermeable surfaces. Intensive cultivation and development of the
renewable soils, aquatic and forest resources, as well as limited utilization of
nonrenewable mineral resources are permitted. Recreational activities and public access
to the shoreline are encouraged to the extent compatible with other rural uses and
activities designated for this environment.


In all, Thurston County shorelines contain approximately 340 acres of shorelines in some
sort of preserve status and approximately 240 acres of shorelines in open space or low
density residential zoning between Nisqually Reach Nature Center and Tolmie State
Park. Maps showing tideland ownership are attached in Appendix.




Pierce County
Summary land use and tideland ownership on Pierce County shorelines is exhibited in
maps attached in the Appendix and the descriptions of the 4 major areas below. Pierce
County is in the process of conducting inventories of current shoreline uses, locations of
critical areas and public participation information that will determine new shoreline
environment designations. Detailed information on Pierce County shoreline designations
was not readily available because such information was removed from the Pierce County
web site during the SMP update process.


Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 3 of 27
Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
          Anderson Island (Pierce County)
Anderson Island shorelines exhibit relatively low density residential development except
for areas near Oro Bay. Private tidelands dominate the shorelines around Oro Bay and
Thompson Cove but fairly long stretches of public tidelands stretch westward from
Thompson Cove to Treble Point and Carlson Bay is almost completely contained within a
public park. High bluff shorelines on the eastern shoreline of Anderson Island north of
Oro Bay contain a greenbelt easement and are on publicly owned tidelands. Several large
privately owned shoreline parcels on Anderson Island are protected from development,
including armoring by conservation easements.

          City of Dupont
The City of DuPont maintains a greenbelt along the entire length of their jurisdiction.
The functional importance of shoreline designations on the Pierce County shoreline from
the mouth of Red Salmon Creek northeast to Solo Point is muted by the ‘protection’ of
that shoreline from further development by the main line railroad embankment along the
entire shoreline. Several gravel mining operations occur on the bluffs within several
hundred feet of the shoreline along this stretch and one gravel barge loading facility is
located within the DuPont shoreline.

          Fort Lewis Military Reservation
Fort Lewis shorelines are similarly undeveloped with the exception of a small
recreational access site at Solo Point and a sewage treatment plant outfall. Tidelands are
publicly owned along Fort Lewis shorelines but access to the public is restricted or
requires permission to prevent interruption of military training exercises. Burlington
Northern Santa Fe Railroad considers crossing its tracks outside of designated areas to be
an act of trespassing.


          Ketron Island
Ketron Island is sparsely developed with large tracts being held by a single
landowner. Approximately one third of the shoreline of Ketron Island consists of
tidelands owned by Pierce County (most of the western shoreline) but the remaining
shorelines have private tidelands.
Maps showing Pierce County Tideland Ownership are attached in Appendix 1.




C. Justification for proposal: (Briefly summarize the reasons for proposing the site as
an aquatic reserve based on the criteria discussed in Section 6 and Appendices C, D, E,
and F).


Nisqually Reach Nature Center wishes to designate the above mentioned state owned

Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 4 of 27
Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
         aquatic lands as an aquatic reserve to protect a relatively uncommon marine bottom type
         community in South Puget Sound from future degradation. This region shows
         remarkable biodiversity because of the juxtaposition of hard and soft substrates, variable
         depth strata, estuarine and marine influences and low levels of shoreline development.
         The site is large enough to encompass critical habitats for numerous species, including
         some that are threatened or endangered or listed as priority marine species by DNR such
         as several species of rockfish, forage fish, anadromous fish, marine mammals and sea
         birds (NRNC). Because the site connects with upland reserves and undeveloped
         shorelines and islands, the reserve will allow for ecological connectivity between the
         relatively undeveloped Nisqually River Basin and marine shorelines of South Puget
         Sound.
         The site effectively expands an existing reserve designation, namely the Nisqually
         National Wildlife Refuge to include deepwater marine areas. The Nisqually Delta has
         benefited from overwhelming citizen support for protection and restoration in the past
         and the reserve is expected to share in the benefit from that existing constituency.
         Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Nisqually Indian Tribe already
         provide a certain level of law enforcement to the region which could be expanded
         through the reserve designation. Nisqually Reach Nature Center has 25 years of
         experience providing education and scientific research opportunities within the reserve
         boundaries that can be expanded through designation.
         Lastly, the designation of the aquatic reserve can have the effect of engaging shoreline
         landowners within the reserve boundary to take a more active role in stewardship.
         Recent activities of the Nisqually Reach Nature Center to that end include work under
         grants from the Russell Family Foundation and the Native Plant Salvage Foundation to
         engage local citizens in stewardship activities such as citizen science monitoring
         programs, native plantings and shoreline vegetation management. The heightened
         awareness the reserve designation will bring to this special area of South Puget Sound is
         likely to have additional benefit to the management of adjacent shorelines through this
         continued engagement. (See plans for ongoing education in Section 3 of this proposal).




         Environmental Reserve Information
         To be provided for each reserve proposal (environmental, scientific, or educational).

Ec o lo g ic a l a n d c u ltu ra l q u a lity o f th e s ite
1. Current condition of the site
   a.  Is the site degraded?
       Because of the relatively low level of shoreline development surrounding the reserve
       and the history of conservation of the Nisqually delta, the site is remarkably less
       degraded compared to many parts of Puget Sound.
   b.  Are there signs of habitat loss within the site?
       Some intertidal habitats and habitat maintaining processes have been disrupted around
         Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 5 of 27
         Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
       the perimeter of the reserve from waterfront development including bulkheaded feeder
       bluffs, and limited navigational dredging. There is also an oyster farm, several smaller
       scale aquaculture operations on private tidelands and limited commercial harvest of
       marine species in the past that may have caused damage to natural benthic communities
       within the reserve boundaries.
c.     Are there signs of habitat loss within the biogeographic region?
       Compared to Nisqually Reach, many other parts of South Puget Sound, especially areas
       with estuarine influence, have experienced more severe habitat loss (Bortelson, 1980).
       Examples include more extensive aquaculture operations, industrialized or impounded
       waterways in Olympia and Shelton, extensive shoreline armoring, legacy pollutants and
       sedimentation of inlets from watershed deforestation (PSAT, 2005).
d.     Are ecosystem processes (e.g., freshwater flow, littoral drift, nutrient cycling, etc.)
       intact? If so, describe.
       Because the entire Nisqually watershed has experienced significantly less development
       pressure than other similar sized watersheds in Puget Sound, freshwater inflow
       dynamics are relatively intact. Some disruption of the historic hydrograph of the
       Nisqually River has occurred as a result of operations of the Alder Lake and La Grande
       dams. Littoral drift is disrupted by moderate amounts of armoring on Thurston County
       shorelines and the Burlington Northern railroad in Pierce County. Nutrient cycling
       within the Nisqually estuary is relatively intact but full tidal prism has been disrupted
       by dikes on the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS, 2003). These dikes are
       slated to be removed as part of an estuarine restoration project in the next year or two.
       Other dynamics of nutrient cycling such as the role of drift algae and other detritus
       generated in the photic zone and transported to the deepwater areas of the reach are not
       yet fully understood.




     Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 6 of 27
     Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
2. Risks to the ecosystem or feature of interest (if applicable) – Can ecological concerns
   contributing directly to the area’s decline be prevented through reserve establishment?
   By itself, the reserve designation can prevent degradation from human activities authorized
   by DNR leasing and WDFW fisheries management, but the long term protection of the
   reserve’s integrity will require engagement of perimeter landowners to provide better
   stewardship of privately owned tidelands and adjacent shoreline buffer areas. The
   Anderson/Ketron Island Dredged Material Management Plan disposal site is located within
   the reserve boundary. See site statistics in the table below.
   Table 1.




       Additional risks to the ecological integrity of the site stem from inadvertent by-catch of
       rockfish species from recreational salmon fishing activity, ongoing development in
       perimeter watersheds, and catastrophic oil spills in Commencement Bay that could
       transport oil to Nisqually Reach through the Tacoma Narrows (Puget Sound Partnership,
       2008).




       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 7 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
3.   Restoration potential
     a. Is there pending restoration or identified restoration needs at the site?
         The afore-mentioned restoration of tidal influence to the Nisqually delta by the
         Nisqually Tribe and the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is the largest dike removal
         project identified currently in Puget Sound (Estuarine and Salmon Recovery Program,
         2008). Smaller scale restoration of natural shoreline processes is being acted on by
         Nisqually Reach Nature Center, People for Puget Sound and South Puget Sound
         Salmon Enhancement Group. Conversations are ongoing with Burlington Northern
         Railroad and the above mentioned groups for developing a restoration MOU to identify
         additional restoration opportunities along the Pierce County shoreline containing the
         BNSF railroad right-of-way (Dan Grosball, personal communication).
     b. Would restoration benefits extend beyond site boundaries?
     Restoration projects at all scales within Nisqually Reach shorelines and estuary will benefit
     the reach as a whole by increasing habitat connectivity, expanding the intertidal zone,
     increasing surface area for denitrification, and increased benthic and detritus productivity
     (PSNERP, 2006) and perhaps even carbon sequestration (Trulio, et al, 2007). The
     restoration projects, especially the refuge dike removal, will also increase human attention
     to the uniqueness of Nisqually ecosystem at the time that the reserve designation is taking
     place increasing support for the reserve goals.


4.   Special value for biodiversity or species diversity
     a. Does the proposed site capture habitat used regularly by species of special conservation
        interest?
         The beaches, mudflats and marshes of the Nisqually delta provide support for a
         productive and diverse food web that supports dozens of shorebird and seabird species,
         including American white pelican, brown pelican, common loon, marbled murrelet and
         western grebe (USFWS). Chinook salmon, steelhead, harbor porpoise, and orca all use
         the waters within the reserve boundaries at one time of year or another (NRNC). The
         rocky deepwater habitats, eelgrass beds and kelp beds support several species of
         rockfish (WDFW). Historical catch records from Nisqually Reach include copper,
         brown, quillback, canary and black rockfish as well as walleye Pollock and Pacific cod
         (WDFW).




       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 8 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
     b. Does the proposed site capture vulnerable habitats, life stages or populations?
        (Vulnerable habitats, life stages or populations include: seal haul-outs, breeding bird
        aggregations or rookeries, seasonal bird aggregations, seasonal fish aggregations (e.g.
        feeding, spawning) or fish and wildlife migration routes.
         The proposed site is a pre-spawn aggregation area for the Nisqually population of Puget
         Sound Chinook salmon (Nisqually Indian Tribe). Juvenile Chinook rear in the delta’s
         main estuary and smaller “pocket estuaries” within a five mile radius of the river mouth
         (Ellings and Hodgson, 2007). The relatively undeveloped nature of the shorelines
         within this region allows uninterrupted corridors for the smallest, weakest swimming
         fish (PSAT, 2005). The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a critical migratory stop
         along the Pacific flyway for dozens of waterfowl and shorebird species, many of which
         benefit from the nutrient cycling and food production within the reserve area (USFWS,
         2004). Most of the Nisqually delta including areas outside the refuge that would be
         included in the aquatic reserve are designated by National Audubon society as an
         Important Bird Area (see map in Appendix 1).


         Pacific harbor seals have several haul out sites throughout the reserve perimeter,
         particularly on mudflats and marsh platforms near the Nisqually River and McAllister
         Creek (NRNC sighting records). There is a significant colony of great blue herons on
         the McAllister bluffs on the refuge property and those birds feed along shoreline and
         mudflats throughout the reserve area (NRNC sighting records). Southern resident
         killerwhale pods make regular seasonal trips into Nisqually Reach in late fall and early
         winter presumably to feed on late season chum runs to South Puget Sound (NRNC
         sighting records and NOAA Southern Resident Killer Whale Critical Habitat
         Designation).


5.   Ecological processes that sustain the aquatic landscape – Would protection of the site
     protect/maintain ecological processes that sustain the aquatic landscape (e.g., freshwater
     flow, littoral drift, nutrient cycling)?
     Within the designated area itself, removal of certain activities from leasing such as
     expansion of aquaculture, piers and docks, marinas and dredging or dredged material
     disposal will protect the physical habitat and natural processes of the subtidal photic zone
     and the deepwater habitats within the reserve. Disruption of other natural processes along
     the perimeter shorelines can still occur, however, and reducing those threats will be
     accomplished through education about private stewardship and an extension of invitation for
     private landowners to augment the reserve in the future through conservation easements and
     other stewardship activities.


6.   The cultural quality of the site– Does the site contain or protect significant cultural
     resources? (Does the site contain heritage, historical, or cultural resources that are eligible
     for the Washington Register of Historic Places, (RCW27.34.220) or the National Register of
     Historic Places?

       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 9 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historical Preservation (DAHP) provided the
following information on cultural resources. Shoreline sites within the project area contain
numerous shell middens. The McNeil Island Archaeological District (DT43) contains 13 shell
midden sites, lithic scatter, camp sites, hearth features, and a shell midden matrix with fire
cracked rock and shell fragments. There is also one well known wooden shipwreck site along the
Thurston County shoreline. The DAHP does not acknowledge any cultural significance to this
or any other shipwrecks within the reserve boundary and the vessel is considered derelict. Since
no risk of pollution exists from the vessel and local residents consider it quaint and historical,
there is no plan to remove it.




Ha b ita ts a n d fe a tu re s re p re s e n te d with in th e s ite
7.   Is the site a good example (relatively undisturbed) of representative native habitat?
     Within the proposed reserve boundaries lies a microcosm of nearly every habitat type
     represented within Puget Sound. Because both estuarine-dominated and marine-dominated
     shorelines, variable sediment grain sizes from cobble to silt, overhanging forested bluffs,
     eelgrass beds, canopy and non-canopy forming kelp vegetation cover, and depth strata from
     intertidal to over 600 feet are found here in relatively undisturbed conditions, support for
     numerous and diverse species can be maintained with proper ongoing protection. (See
     species distribution maps in Appendix1)


8.   Does the site contain representative habitats not otherwise protected in the network of
     protected areas or aquatic reserves?
     Since the aquatic reserve network is currently containing only a few sites at relative
     isolation from each other in the sound, we are uncertain whether there are unique habitats in
     this reserve. Existing WDFW marine protected areas are generally small and often only
     protecting intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky reefs (WDFW MPAs). Certainly, no other
     South Puget Sound reserve is currently designated or proposed at this time and many of the
     habitats contained within this proposed reserve are unique for South Puget Sound. Full
     habitat inventories will be needed throughout the reserve network and within this reserve to
     better understand the role this reserve will play within a reserve network.

9.   Does the proposed site capture species or habitats that are currently much less common than
     they were historically within the site’s “biogeographic region” (See Section 6, Figures 3 and
     4)?
     It is unclear whether habitats and species common in the Nisqually delta and Nisqually
     Reach were more common historically throughout South Puget Sound and little empirical
     data exists on this subject. Certainly, we know that the conversion of the Deschutes estuary
     in Budd Inlet to Capitol Lake and the Port of Olympia would have eliminated habitat types
     that are common at Nisqually. Likewise would have the developments at the Port of
     Shelton destroyed similar habitats in Hammersly Inlet. More developed shorelines like
        Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 10 of 27
        Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
     those within Budd Inlet, Henderson Inlet, Eld Inlet, Carr Inlet, Case Inlet and outer Totten
     Inlet may be degraded to the point they no longer support certain species that were common
     historically. Each of the other South Sound Inlets lacks the extreme influence of a river of
     the magnitude of the Nisqually so Nisqually Reach would have historically had the lion’s
     share of habitat diversity in South Puget Sound. Anecdotal data on sedimentation caused by
     extensive logging of South Sound inlets suggests that more complex habitats could have
     been converted to mudflats, although research by DNR on eelgrass distribution suggests the
     tidal regime further west from Nisqually may prevent establishment of eelgrass Tom
     Mumford, personal communications). Shallow subtidal kelp beds occur at several other
     places within South Puget Sound (Shorezone, 2001) but without deepwater surveys, we
     don’t know if they correspond with deep cobble habitats similar to Nisqually Reach.



Via b ility o f th e o c c u rre n c e s o f in te re s t
10. Site features meet the intent of the reserve
    Are species, habitat, or ecosystem processes consistently associated with the reserve site?
    Nisqually River delta-forming processes persist and are being improved through restoration
    suggesting the associated habitats and species in the delta-dominated areas will be
    supported. Island shorelines contain both subtidal rocky platforms supporting non-canopy
    forming kelp as well as sand and gravel beaches. Sufficient tidal currents sweep through
    Nisqually Reach to prevent settling of fine sediments onto cobble communities in the deeper
    areas of the Reach. The current level of shoreline armoring is believed to be below any
    threshold which will disrupt sediment transport processes that create spits and other
    depositional features, however, empirical research on this phenomenon is lacking in Puget
    Sound (Hugh Shipman, personal communications). Significant regulatory and stewardship
    education pressure has been and will need to continue to be employed to protect these
    processes.




11. Number of conservation targets (As it relates to information in “Special value for
     biodiversity or species diversity,” question #9 above). Identify the habitat(s) and associated
     species you are proposing for conservation. Summarize the conservation goals.
Eelgrass beds – prevent loss or disturbance of eelgrass within the reserve area through removal
from leasing any activities that would physically disrupt eelgrass plants, their supporting
substrate, the natural sediment transport and depositional processes that support appropriate
eelgrass substrates and that would produce shading either directly from overwater structures or
indirectly through loss of water quality that would result in increased phytoplankton production.

Non-canopy forming kelp – Complete an inventory and mapping of non-canopy forming kelp
cover throughout the reserve boundary shorelines. Assess the risk of degradation to these beds
as a result of invasive Sargassum muticum or other non-native species. Assess the role of non-
canopy forming kelp in the deepwater detritus based food web within Nisqually Reach.
         Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 11 of 27
         Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Deepwater rocky bottom invertebrates and sessile fish community – Inventory species richness,
species-habitat associations and behaviors of deepwater fish and invertebrates within the reserve.
Prevent physical burial, disruption or contamination of these communities as a result of leased
activities such as dredging, dredged material disposal, pipeline or transmission line burial or
retrieval and overfishing.

Publicly owned tidelands adjacent to shoreline access sites – Increase appreciation, protection
and stewardship of shoreline public access sites and their associated tidelands through education
and public involvement events, signs and programs. Use these areas for broader education about
the goals and management of the aquatic reserve as a whole.

Pelagic species – Marine birds, mammals and wide ranging pelagic fish species that seasonally
visit reserve waters will be supported with an intact, productive and non-toxic marine and
estuarine food web, minimal human disturbance and a human population that appreciates and
advocates for their well-being throughout their larger range as a result of contact with them
within the reserve.

Submarine delta – While the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and Washington Department of
Fish and Wildlife protect the emergent (intertidal) sections of the Nisqually delta, a vast
submarine portion lies beyond refuge boundaries. This feature has unique properties as a
dynamic sandy feature with almost unexplored biodiversity. In 2001 USGS mapped the
submarine delta and studied some of its features and processes to study the effect of the
Nisqually earthquake.




       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 12 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
12. Number of ecological processes
     Does the site contain unique or distinctive physical habitat features (e.g., oceanographic
     gyre, oceanographic sill, natural beach spit, side channels, ox bow, estuary, etc.)?
         The influence of the Nisqually River creates a large plume of freshwater at the surface
         that varies in position throughout the reserve daily and seasonally depending on wind and
         tidal conditions and volume of river discharge. This distributes nutrients and fine
         sediments to a large area within the reserve boundary and may contribute localized
         primary productivity, especially near fronts with incoming tidal waters where mixing can
         occur. The strong oceanographic currents that swirl around Anderson and Ketron Islands
         do support several gyres and upwelling zones at different stages of the tide. (See
         Tideprint Maps in Appendix 1).
         Because the Nisqually Reach is close to the Tacoma Narrows, the oceanographic flushing
         characteristics are significantly more frequent than areas more distant from the narrows
         allowing better water quality and exchange of ocean-going species. Gyres set up within
         the reserve area throughout various parts of the tidal cycle (McGary and Lincoln, 1977).
         Several beach spits exist within the reserve boundary marking convergence of littoral
         drift processes such as Tolmie State Park on the Thurston County shoreline, Carlson Bay
         and inner Oro Bay on Anderson Island.


De fe n s ib ility o f th e s ite
13. Complementary protection within a reserve or protected area network
    Does the site include habitat types that are under-represented on a bioregional basis, in the
    Aquatic Reserves Program, or other marine protected area or network?

     Deepwater rocky bottom types, submarine delta of the Nisqually and non-canopy forming
     kelp beds seem underrepresented in other marine protected areas and aquatic reserves within
     Puget Sound of which we are aware. Similar to question #9, more complete inventories of
     species and habitats within this reserve and the system as a whole will be needed to fully
     answer this question and we recommend including such research within the scientific
     reserve section of the management plan.

14. Connectivity to a reserve or protected area network and/or for species and/or habitats
    a. Is site adjacent to existing marine or freshwater protected areas administered for
       preservation or restoration purposes?
    Yes, the afore-mentioned Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge dominates the southern border
    of the reserve. The headwaters of the Nisqually watershed are protected by the National
    Park Service in Mt. Rainier National Park. A patchwork of state and federal forest lands,
    large private forest companies and private forest landowners throughout the basin are
    managing forested properties to protect riparian functions for threatened Chinook salmon
    and other fish. Large portions of the Fort Lewis Military Reservation are kept in preserve
    status to buffer military training operations from populated areas offering de facto
    preservation benefits to the reserve. Recognizing the importance of this area, adjacent
         Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 13 of 27
         Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
jurisdictions have designated marine bluffs, estuarine wetlands, marine riparian areas and
other sensitive habitats around the perimeter of the reserve through critical areas ordinances
under the Growth Management Act and have limited future development along the
shorelines through zoning and designation of greenbelts and open space. Submerged
portions of Tolmie State Park and Andy’s Marine Park are designated as Marine Protected
Areas within the reserve. The closest Marine Protected Area outside the reserve is Saltar’s
Point in Steilacoom just beyond the reserve boundary. Another aquatic reserve is being
proposed in Colvos Passage on the opposite side of the Tacoma Narrows from Nisqually
Reach.

Challenges to habitat connectivity within the reserve are from bulkheaded or armored
shorelines in Thurston County and along the Burlington Northern Railroad. Forage fish
spawning is still supported throughout these stretches although the importance for these
shorelines for forage fish spawning is not as high as other areas within South Puget Sound.
(WDFW) (See Map in Appendix 1)

       b. Does the site provide regional habitat connectivity through any of the following
          functions? Refuge (predator, physiological, high energy), food production,
          migratory, corridors, spawning, nursery or rearing, riparian vegetation, adult
          habitat, other functions. Please provide references to support this information.

The Regional Nearshore Chapter of the Salmon Recovery Plan (Puget Sound Action Team,
2005) describes in detail the importance of the Nisqually delta and associated marine
shoreline features in providing refuge, food production and physiological transition to
migrating juvenile and adult Chinook salmon. The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (USFWS, 2004) describes the role of the Nisqually
National Wildlife Refuge as a critical link for migratory birds along the Pacific flyway
including nesting support for over 100 species. The Biological Report designating critical
habitat for Southern Resident Killer Whales (NMFS, 2006) describes the role of late South
Puget Sound chum salmon runs for the southern resident orca population in early winter
before they migrate out of Puget Sound. Anecdotal observation of orcas traversing
Nisqually Reach in December supports this model.




  Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 14 of 27
  Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
15. Appropriate size to be sustainable
    Is the area large enough to be self-sustaining? Is the entire feature identified for conservation
    included in the proposed site? Does the site include the adjacent areas necessary to support and
    buffer the conservation features of the site?

    The approximate size of the proposed reserve is estimated at over 10,000 acres, although GIS
    calculations from boundary maps have not yet been made. The target habitats to be protected
    will have sufficient buffer in the reserve size but additional stewardship of privately owned
    tidelands and upland properties adjacent to the reserve will need to be included into the
    management plan for long term sustainability of those habitats.




16. Ability to persist over time
    a. Can site be successfully managed to maintain the features of interest?
       Removing the area from leasing activities inconsistent with reserve management goals,
       increased awareness of target habitats and species as a result of Nisqually Reach Nature
       Center outreach and education activities, and cooperation of perimeter stakeholders and
       other partners should provide the necessary maintenance of the features of the site.
    b. Are there known human-caused, or natural ecological concerns, to continued viability of
       the site?
       Current adjacent land uses and activities are not a concern for ongoing viability of the
       site. Recreational boat traffic is heavy during fishing and crabbing seasons which could
       produce some localized disturbance of eelgrass along the outer edges of the flats within
       the National Wildlife Refuge. Boater education on protecting eelgrass is a major focus of
       educational efforts of the refuge and Nisqually Reach Nature Center.

17. Known or anticipated activities that endanger the site or habitat
    Are proposed land uses or modifications compatible with reserve designation (Modifications
    of interest are described in Appendix B)?
       The threat of expanding geoduck and other aquaculture operations on private tidelands
       adjacent to the reserve, any changes in shoreline land use zoning, a catastrophic oil spill
       in Commencement Bay that would travel through the Narrows and tidal power generation
       at Tacoma Narrows are all potential concerns to the site’s long term viability that are
       currently outside the scope of the reserve management plan or DNR’s authority. There is
       also a potential for increased gravel mining along shorelines in DuPont and on Ketron
       Island.

18. Potential for factors contributing directly to the area’s decline to be prevented
    Would reserve status provide protection for habitats, species, or processes of interest from
    encroachment?
      Yes, in particular, the reserve management plan could call for a moratorium on new
       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 15 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
       leases of state owned aquatic lands within and adjacent to the reserve for geoduck and
       other aquaculture, piers, docks, marinas, dredging, pipeline right of way expansions,
       dredged material disposal and associated activities that would be incompatible with
       protecting target habitats, species and processes. Nisqually Reach Nature Center supports
       the Washington Sea Grant 5 yr. study on effects of geoduck aquaculture and supporting
       such studies within the reserve would be compatible with the research goals of the
       reserve. However, unlimited expansion of geoduck aquaculture, regardless of study
       outcomes seems incompatible and should be limited initially to privately owned tidelands
       where express permission is given by regulatory agencies for such an expansion and only
       after the study reveals that geoduck aquaculture methods of that scope would not result in
       degradation of reserve habitats, species and processes. Likewise, proposed plans for
       continued use of the Anderson Island dredged material disposal site should be evaluated
       by oceanographic material dispersion models, empirical observation of physical habitat
       burial and recovery and any appropriate ambient or tissue toxicity tests to avoid
       continued contamination of the benthic community by dioxins or other legacy toxic
       constituents.


       It is also hoped that reserve status could elevate the area’s importance within each
       county’s shoreline master programs and within Washington Department of Fish and
       Wildlife so that a stronger stance on bulkhead permitting could result. Reserve
       designation and the education surrounding it may also prepare perimeter residents for
       likely changes due to sea level rise. Restoration of the Nisqually delta is likely to
       improve sediment transport to the area’s shorelines which may also help mitigate erosion
       losses lined to sea level rise.


       Manageability of the site
19. Coordination with other entities, including local jurisdictions and current leaseholders
          a. Does the proposal include coordination of reserve actions with other entities,
              including local jurisdictions and current leaseholders?
      Local jurisdictions and major shoreline landowners are being contacted to describe the
      reserve proposal and answer any questions about the boundaries and proposed
      management of the site. We expect many of those entities to supply letters of support
      and even partnership assistance with developing and implementing the management plan.
      In particular, the owners of National Oyster Company, the management of Nisqually
      National Wildlife Refuge, WDFW, Fort Lewis, the Nisqually Tribe and local
      jurisdictions of Thurston and Pierce Counties, City of Lacey, City of DuPont, and various
      homeowner’s associations in Thurston County and Anderson Island that have shared
      public access sites adjacent to the reserve.

       NRNC has been working for several years in collaboration with the Wildlife Refuge,
       Nisqually Tribe, North Thurston School District, Beachcrest Homeowner’s Association,
       Thurston County and others through ongoing restoration, citizen science and education
       programs (See Education Section 3). New collaborations on monitoring and potential
       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 16 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
   restoration on Solo Point are in progress with the Fort Lewis community.

b.Has another entity previously identified this site or areas within the site as a priority for
protection? [Examples include Important Bird Areas (Cullinan 2001), priority areas for
Research Natural Area Designation (Dyrness et al. 1975), or priority areas for conservation
(e.g., through ecoregional planning, Natural Heritage Program research (Kunze 1984), or
similar process (Dethier 1989)]

   Portions of the proposed reserve were previously identified by DNR as a priority aquatic
   site although the boundaries of that proposal do not match those of the proposed reserve.
   (Palazzi and Bloch, 2006)

   Portions of the Nisqually delta are designated by National Audubon Society as Important
   Bird Areas (Cullinan, 2001)




        c. Have potential cooperative management partners been identified for management,
           monitoring, and enforcement?

WDFW and USFWS in particular, have enforcement capabilities as do the Sherriff’s
Departments of Thurston and Pierce Counties in the Nisqually Reach area. Nisqually Reach
Nature Center is inquiring with each agency as to the potential for reserve enforcement that
could be extended without additional budget and manpower appropriations. Currently,
enforcement of fishing regulations is fairly robust at the Nisqually Reach Nature Center site
for fish landed at the fishing pier and boat ramp and occasional boat patrols are made by
game wardens during high fishing season activity. However, any violations to reserve
management plan stipulations such as unauthorized dock construction or dredging will have
to be conveyed to DNR to commence any procedures for enforcement that they may have.
Perimeter stakeholders, recreational users, researchers and students participating in reserve
activities will be instructed to look for and report such activity to Nisqually Reach Nature
Center director and its partners.




       d. Is the site adjacent to terrestrial protected areas managed for conservation or
          restoration purposes?
 Yes, both the Nisqually National Widlife Refuge and adjacent state fish and wildlife
 managed lands are managed for conservation and enforced upon through a joint
 management agreement. (USFWS, 2004) Anderson Island Park Board’s manages and
 enforces litter and other ordinances in Andy’s Park and Andy’s Marine Park on Anderson
 Island.


   Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 17 of 27
   Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
20.   Provide a description of how to measure success (i.e., monitoring). Describe what, if
      any, monitoring needs
      Does the reserve proposal include a monitoring plan that measures reserve progress toward
      goals and provide for adaptive management?

      Nisqually Reach Nature Center has been developing a citizen science monitoring program
      over the last few years around restoration activities within the delta. Standard biological
      monitoring techniques are also performed as part of experiential education programs at
      Nisqually Reach Nature Center.

      A full monitoring plan proposal specifically geared to monitoring refuge habitats, species,
      processes and management goals will have to be created over the following year in
      cooperation with our stakeholders. A grant has been received from the Russell Family
      Foundation supporting development of the reserve management plan. Included in the
      grant, is a small amount of money to begin collecting baseline data on the distribution and
      current health of certain target habitats such as the deepwater hard bottom community, non-
      canopy forming kelp beds and submarine delta slope. Because of the depth of some of
      these habitats, remote underwater video cameras and remotely operated vehicles will need
      to be used. The Nature Center’s grant includes budget to employ up to 100 hours of ROV
      time from University of Puget Sound. Additional ROV support may be sought from DNR
      and WDFW who jointly own an ROV that could be scheduled into reserve monitoring
      protocols.

      Any future monitoring will depend on establishing appropriate parameters characterizing
      these habitats, species and processes within the reserve and tied to reserve management
      goals and actions through a reasonable conceptual model. Additional funding sources will
      be needed for ongoing monitoring support.

      Adaptive Management of the site may include, identification of additional studies,
      recommendations to DNR for changes to their management of state owned aquatic lands
      within the reserve not anticipated by the initial proposal, needs for additional fisheries
      closures or enforcement by WDFW to maintain the integrity of species or habitats and
      improved perimeter landowner stewardship activities.




       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 18 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
21.   Kinds of enforcement needed to make sure incompatible uses and impacts do not
      encroach on the reserve
      What kind of enforcement is needed to prevent incompatible uses and impacts from
      encroaching on the reserve?
      As mentioned above, a citizen’s network of waterfront property owners, recreational
      boaters, fishers, hunters and others who spend time in and around the reserve will be
      trained to identify potential incompatible uses and report them to Daniel Hull, the
      Nisqually Reach Nature Center Director as a central point of contact. Daniel can then
      transmit the information to appropriate enforcement staff depending on jurisdiction.

      Consistent with agency authorities, follow up enforcement activities will be expected from
      WDFW for fishing regulations violations or violations of the state hydraulic code that are
      reported within the reserve. Likewise, any unauthorized use of state-owned aquatic lands
      within the reserve should be followed up by DNR enforcement officers and appropriate
      administrative or criminal penalties should be charged. USFWS and/or WDFW will also
      enforce against any wildlife violations.




Does the site serve or conflict with the greatest public benefit?
      a. Does reserve status represent the greatest public benefit?
               Reserve status will reflect ongoing evolution of public opinion on the protection
               of the Nisqually delta and its environs that has been developing since the early
               1970s with the creation of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The recent
               and planned restoration activities, attention to monitoring science and emphasis
               on Puget Sound protection and restoration by the year 2020 all lend positive
               support for this direction. The opportunity to study the potential effects of certain
               DNR leased activities within the reserve boundary under controlled conditions
               will allow export of best management practices throughout the sound. Protection
               of target habitats, species and processes within the reserve will provide a genetic
               bank of biodiversity for repopulating Puget Sound in the event of an
               environmental catastrophe such as a major oil or chemical spill.

      b. Is reserve status compatible with existing or proposed adjacent uses?
                Reserve status is compatible with existing adjacent uses but long term viability of
                reserve species, habitats and processes may require appropriate limitations on
                proposed uses that are currently allowed without reserve designation.




       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 19 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
      Section 2 - Additional information to be provided for
      SCIENTIFIC RESERVE Proposals
      Coordinate your responses to the following questions with answers provided under
      site-specific Environmental Reserve site information, above.
1.   Rare site including a wide variety of habitat types and ecological processes (See:
     “Special value for biodiversity”)

     The wide range of habitat types described above underscore the physiographic diversity of
     the site. Nisqually Reach Nature Center has documented over 50 species of fish in the
     waters within reserve boundaries. Harbor seals, California sea lions, Dall’s porpoise,
     harbor porpoise, gray whale, and orca have been sighted in reserve waters since 2000
     (NRNC sighting records). Approximately 200 harbor seals haul out at nearby Nisqually
     delta mudflats and on Eagle Island. Bluff shorelines surrounding the reserve support
     pigeon guillemot colonies. The endangered marbled murrelet is documented regularly. 74
     species of birds are regularly seen within the reserve area and adjacent shorelines. Early
     investigations of invertebrate diversity suggest hundreds if not thousands of species are
     represented between the diverse benthic and depth strata in the reserve.


2.   Relatively undisturbed example of habitat that was common historically (See: “What
     is the current condition of the site?”)
       As mentioned above, the current condition of the site could be characterized as relatively
       undisturbed.

3.   Is the site of interest to the scientific community?
     a. Does site represent a unique research opportunity?
         Significant efforts are being planned to monitor aspects of tidal restoration of the
         Nisqually delta as it will be the largest project of its kind and could produce some “far
         field” effects. The submarine delta has been studied by USGS for evidence of
         submarine landslides following the Nisqually earthquake. Additional restoration
         projects being scoped for the Pierce County shoreline from Nisqually River to Point
         Defiance also have interesting landscape scale monitoring potential that would occur
         within the reserve. We are in conversation with Pierce County to possibly
         accommodate a study site for the Sea Grant Effects of Geoduck Aquaculture Study on
         county-owned tidelands on Ketron Island. Few deepwater habitats have been
         comprehensively surveyed within Puget Sound and this is a fundamental research goal
         for the reserve.
     b. Do proponents have a history of successful scientific research?
       Nisqually Reach Nature Center sponsors individual, student and citizen science research
       regularly. The Center has sponsored 4 Nisqually Research Symposia that showcase
       research conducted in the Reach by Nature Center staff and volunteers, our restoration
       partners and others throughout the Nisqually watershed. NRNC produces Proceedings
       documents and regularly updates a Nisqually Basin Research Bibliography. See
      Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 20 of 27
      Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
       Research Page on our web site: http://www.nisquallyestuary.org/research.htm

       Current projects include Red Salmon Slough restoration site bird use monitoring,
       terrestrial invertebrate fallout sampling, beach intertidal transects, phytoplankton
       ecology, and beach seining. NRNC staff, interns and volunteers were crucial contributors
       to the Nisqually Baseline Fish Ecology Study completed by the Nisqually National
       Wildlife Refuge and Nisqually Indian Tribe. (Ellings and Hodgson, 2007)

4.   Species richness
     Does site exceed expected species richness for areas of similar size? (i.e., does site contain
     plant and animal communities suitable for continuing scientific observations (WAC
     332.30.106).
     The diversity of habitats within the reserve suggests that its species richness would exceed
     similar sized areas with more homogeneous substrate, depth and salinity conditions. In
     addition to the hard bottom communities listed above, the dynamics of community
     distribution are poorly understood and could support significant additional study. One of
     the most exciting aspects of this could be documenting any habitat shifts that take place as
     a result of removal of levees on the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Over time,
     restoration conceptual models predict that the marsh edge is expected to prograde and tidal
     channel dynamics are expected to shift. Monitoring subtidal habitat changes like shifts in
     eelgrass abundance or distribution can add important detail to understanding the off-site
     effects of tidal restoration. Also see species occurrence maps in Appendix 1.

5.   Viability and manageability of the site, able to support rare, special, and unique
     features?
       Aquatic reserve designation will help to limit anthropogenic influences that might
       degrade current habitat quality. However, all of South Puget Sound is susceptible to
       nutrient loading and eutrophication effects because of its low flushing dynamics. Habitat
       disturbance from existing fishing, crabbing and geoduck wild harvest activities is thought
       to be minimal and of short duration, however, ROV surveys planned during the next year
       could determine if derelict gear or other effects of these activities are present.
6.   Site contains a high degree of biodiversity for habitat type
     Does site exceed expected biodiversity as measured using Shannon’s diversity index (an
     index that measures diversity and evenness of species) for similar habitats?

      The site contains a variety of habitat types with varying degrees of exposure to fresh water
      and soft sediments as well as deep water areas, most of which are beyond where diversity
      surveys can be easily conducted. As part of the aquatic reserve, we propose to embark on
      ambitious surveys to characterize the habitats and species of the reserve using several
      methods. Preliminary results of benthic fauna surveying using Remotely Operated Vehicle
      are available from the following web site:
http://projects.ups.edu/jkelliott/NWACC/South_Puget_Sound2/index.htm (on South Puget
      Sound map, select locations 9, 10 and 11 to see representative videos of subtidal marine life
      including subtidal sand flats, sea pen and sand dollar flats, and cobble bottom communities)
       Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 21 of 27
       Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
High Resolution bathymetry has been collected for much of the Nisqually Reach and is
     available at the following web link:

http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/pacmaps/ps-index.html
Imagery of submarine delta bathymetry following 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.




        Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 22 of 27
        Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
7.   Site should be manipulated without doing irreparable harm to neighboring systems or
     habitats in order to advance knowledge (where applicable)
     a. Do proposed manipulations affect the physical (e.g., habitat structure or ecosystem
        processes) or biological composition of the site?
       Planned research activities are designed to minimize any disturbance of existing habitat
       features and will be based on observation and video interpretation techniques.

     b. Are impacts of manipulation restricted to the site?
       We plan to limit observations to representative habitat types within the reserve
       boundaries for purposes of characterization. Future observations may be sited to take
       advantage of ongoing authorized activities in order to ascertain whether those activities
       damage or disturb habitats or species.

8.   History of monitoring or an opportunity for long term monitoring at the site
              Does site have a historical monitoring record?

      See monitoring response in education section below. WDFW includes the Nisqually
      Reach area in periodic synoptic trawl surveys and DNR has several recurrent sites for
      eelgrass monitoring within the reserve.




      Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 23 of 27
      Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
      Section 3 - Additional information to be provided for
      EDUCATIONAL RESERVE Proposals
1.   Network of sites that provides an accessible distribution of sites throughout the state
     Are education reserves available within a biogeographic region? (Education reserves may
     include areas operated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service,
     Washington State Parks and Recreation, or The Nature Conservancy that offer educational
     curricula.)
     Yes, currently there are four educational reserves operating within the boundaries of the
     proposed aquatic reserve.
     Nisqually Reach Nature Center (NRNC):
     The Nisqually Reach Nature Center has been offering estuarine environmental education at
     Luhr Beach since 1982. Through the years our emphasis has changed from general public
     outreach to our current focus on providing supplemental classroom, laboratory, and field
     trip opportunities for schools in Thurston and Pierce counties and beyond.

     Our mission statement is to promote the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of
     the Nisqually estuarine ecosystem and its integral role in the local environment, history,
     and culture through interpretation, education, and research. In a typical year over 2,000
     school kids, from first grade through the collegiate level, visit the Nature Center. As part
     of our higher education program we also support and sponsor estuarine research
     opportunities for South Puget Sound college students.

     Our 2,100 sq. ft facility at Luhr Beach is on the shore of Puget Sound on the west side of
     Nisqually Delta at the mouth of McAllister Creek. Inside the building, we have five tidal
     active aquariums highlighting some of the many species found in the near shore and
     underwater environment of Nisqually Reach.

     We receive use of our building through a cooperative agreement with the Washington
     Department of Fish and Wildlife. They also maintain a boat launch and fishing pier here at
     Luhr Beach on which the Nature Center provides static interpretive displays on the region’s
     oceanography, ecology and geography.

     We are organized as a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status. We are governed by a
     board of directors with members drawn from the local business community, higher
     education institutions, and state resource management agencies.


     Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NNWR):
     The NNWR on the Nisqually River Delta in southern Puget Sound, was established in 1974
     for the protection of migratory birds. Three thousand acres of salt and freshwater marshes,
     grasslands, riparian, and mixed forest habitats provide resting and nesting areas for
     migratory waterfowl, songbirds, raptors, and wading birds.

      Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 24 of 27
      Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
     Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 544 National Wildlife Refuges in the
     United States. Managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the Department
     of the Interior, the National Wildlife Refuges encompass over 95 million acres of land for
     wildlife.

     The mission of the Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters
     for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife,
     and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and
     future generations of Americans.

     Each year approximately 5,000 students, teachers, and group leaders visit Nisqually NWR.
     The Refuge offers an invaluable opportunity for students to experience and learn about the
     natural world.

     Tolmie State Park:
     Tolmie State park is a 105-acre marine day-use park with 1,800 feet of saltwater shoreline
     on Puget Sound. This forested park is on Nisqually Reach, a few miles from Olympia, the
     state's capital city. The park offers a variety of beachside activities and an underwater park
     built by scuba divers.

     Andrew Anderson Marine Park:
     The core of the park was the gift of Andrew Anderson (1895-1975), a true visionary
     concerning the preservation of the way of life we cherish on this island. The Beach can be
     accessed by a three-quarters of a mile long trail to the beach or via watercraft.
     The Marine Park routinely receives rave reviews from islanders and their guests, and we
     can certainly take great satisfaction and pride in having such an outstanding facility in a
     community of this size. Rick Anderson is the commissioner for this park.


2.   Network of sites that provides an adequate distribution among habitat types – Is the
     proposed site a unique example of habitat available for educational opportunities regionally
     or statewide?
     Referring to question 13, there is a great opportunity to educate the public about deepwater
     rocky bottom types, submarine delta of the Nisqually and non-canopy forming kelp beds
     that seem under-represented in other marine protected areas and aquatic reserves within
     Puget Sound of which we are aware. We can connect this to our research component as a
     more complete inventory of species and habitat within this reserve and the system as a
     whole will be needed to fully answer questions about interactions between the
     aforementioned habitat types.

3.   Sites that attract a range of target audiences – Is the curriculum integrated into an
     applied educational program (e.g., school, public education program, etc.) and tailored to
     the unique features of the site.
      Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 25 of 27
      Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
     NRNC
     Since its inception NRNC has been educating the public about the unique character and
     importance of the Nisqually Reach area reaching thousands of school children each year.
     In the last three years, NRNC has been working an educational platform that specializes in
     engaging students in an inquiry science based curriculum we have termed Citizen Science
     for the Classroom. This program engages students, though field work, to think more
     critically about the near shore environment and apply that knowledge to understanding the
     health of the Puget Sound.

     We are currently excited about some of the opportunities that are starting to take form.
     Working with Anderson Island parks and comparing different areas within the boundaries
     between NRNC and the marine park. We have also started a joint program with Komachin
     Middle School to work on a 70 foot Marine vessel, the Indigo and swap students between
     the center and the marine vessel to educate them about near shore and off shore habitats.

     NNWR
     The NNWR has had a unique opportunity to interpret one of the most stunning examples of
     intact estuarine habitat since its inception into the Wildlife Refuge in 1974. During this
     time thousands of school kids each year get an opportunity to discover the many habitats
     created in this rich Delta. Along with this, NNWR trains teachers to use the refuge as a
     field trip destination and understand some of the main educational opportunities that are
     available to them. One tool used quite frequently is a joint curriculum formed by NNWR
     and NRNC called The Educator's Guide to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge "Where the
     River Meets the Sound"

     "Where the River Meets the Sound" is the most up-to-date version of the educator's guide
     that offers complete field trip planning, preparation, and activities for the classroom and
     field trips. It offers great background information and numerous activities--each matched
     with Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs).

     Tolmie State Park
     Tolmie State Park has a series of Displays on the beach and in the upper picnic areas
     describing the evolution/ecology of the shoreline and the history of the park.

4.   Sites that are compatible with educational use activities – Are activities and conditions
     in the areas adjacent to the proposed reserve compatible with the uses proposed for the
     reserve?

     Yes. The areas mentioned within the reserve give many urbanites surrounding Nisqually
     Reach the unique opportunity to explore and educate themselves about this rich
     environment.



      Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 26 of 27
      Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
5.   Current site conditions or activities adjacent to the site are compatible with the
     educational reserve – Are activities and conditions in the areas adjacent to the proposed
     reserve compatible to the uses proposed for the reserve?

     From information we have gathered thus far in public outreach and work with other
     agencies, most people think that the creation of an aquatic reserve in this area would be a
     good idea.

6.   Site whose ecological integrity can be preserved while providing public access – How
     will the proponent maintain the unique ecological features of the site while providing
     public access for an education program?

     Currently, access to the areas concerned are being used by people in many recreational
     ways. We would like to use the designation as an Aquatic Reserve to help educate more
     people by creating stronger partners with stakeholders within the Reserve boundaries and
     beyond. It is our hope that by creating this reserve the stakeholders in this area can act as
     leaders in their communities to help people understand the unique and fragile nature of the
     Puget Sound.

7.   Site has a history of monitoring and an opportunity for long-term monitoring.
     (Criterion applicable in cases described by Final EIS 3.2.1.4.3) – Does site have a historical
     monitoring record?

     Yes. As stated above, NRNC has been doing student monitoring on Luhr Beach for the last
     three years looking at forage fish populations and invertebrate populations on the beach via
     Quadrate sampling and hand fish seining. We hope to do similar programming at Solo
     Point, a beach access area operated by Fort Lewis and to develop programming to work
     with citizens of Anderson Island.

     NRNC has also worked with several colleges in the surrounding area and championed
     restoration monitoring for use in agency decision making. Our two most notable
     monitoring programs would be bird monitoring and invertebrate monitoring of restored
     estuarine habitat done in conjunction with the Nisqually Tribe and NNWR.




      Site Proposal Application for the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve 2008 ▪ Page 27 of 27
      Proposed to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

								
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