Chuckanut Village Marsh Restoration Project Monitoring
The Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) performed biological monitoring in the Chuckanut Village marsh area to measure the effectiveness of replacing a partial fish passage barrier culvert with an appropriately sized box culvert. The MRC monitored use of the marsh by juvenile salmonids before and after the City of Bellingham removed the culvert in March of 2011. This project effectively involved the local community in restoration and monitoring, with 27 different community members contributing a total of 200 cumulative hours to the project.
The Whatcom MRC was instrumental in the development of the culvert removal project, which was aligned with the Northwest Straits Commission benchmarks for Marine Habitat and Marine Life as a local project that restored natural habitat processes for the benefit of salmonids. This monitoring project is also aligned with the Northwest Straits Commission benchmarks for both Science and Education & Outreach as the MRC recognized and filled an important data gap by collecting high quality data to verify effectiveness of a nearshore restoration project, simultaneously engaging the public in an active stewardship opportunity.
Objectives of this monitoring project:
- Monitor fish use of the marsh before and after removal of the fish passage barrier
- Engage the public in an active stewardship opportunity
Objectives of the culvert removal project:
- Build partnerships between local government, tribes, and citizen science organizations
- Remove vehicle access to a natural marine shoreline
- Restore marine riparian habitat
- Restore passage for juvenile salmon into a tidal saltmarsh