Olympic Sculpture Park Restoration

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Pocket Beach and Habitat Bench at high tide

The Olympic Sculpture Park opened in January 2007 and included construction of two shallow-water features: a low-terrace habitat bench placed in front of existing seawall armoring, and a constructed pocket beach that replaced existing riprap armoring. Riparian vegetation was also planted in the uplands replacing impervious surfaces and manicured lawn. It was hoped that these habitat features would help restore some of the lost or impaired functions caused by the armoring. Functions of these habitat features were measured by sampling both before and after enhancements (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011), and comparing to adjacent armored shorelines. Fishes that are dependent on shallow water habitat were a main focus of sampling, specifically outmigrating juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) and larvae of other species. Terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates were also assessed, both as a metric for habitat quality and as a determinant of available prey resources for juvenile salmon. Physical features of the created habitats were monitored in post-enhancement years to measure their stability.

Results of monitoring showed that shoreline enhancements increased densities of larval fishes and juvenile salmon and measurements of juvenile salmon feeding behavior dependent on the year, and provided habitat for invertebrate assemblages that were different from armored shorelines and had high taxa richness. Physical resilience depended on both natural processes and human activities, demonstrating the need to incorporate anthropogenic use into the management of urban shorelines. The unique aspects of this urban enhancement make it useful as a case study that can be applied to future restoration designs

Further information and reports can be found at a website that summarizes all monitoring activities: https://sites.google.com/a/uw.edu/olympic-sculpture-park/home

Published manuscript Toft et al 2013 Habitat Enhancements