Puget Sound Tidal Wetland Barrier Removal Planning

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TidalBarrierPicture RanaeHolland.jpg
Cramer Fish Sciences proposes to develop a consistent and comprehensive spatial database of tidal barrier features (e.g., culverts, tide gates, levees, and dikes), and current and potential tidal wetland habitat extents for Puget Sound’s major large river deltas. Although numerous spatial datasets for tidal barrier and wetland habitat currently exist, these have not been synthesized into a consistent regional dataset. In addition, many datasets are incomplete or have become outdated. CFS will compile regional datasets into a consistent spatial database and use remote sensing to update and correct regional data, digitize missing features, and classify feature types and potential connectivity impacts. The resulting spatial database will be used to delineate current and potential tidal wetland habitat extents that integrate tidal barrier information developed in this proposal. The products of this project will directly support and leverage salmon recovery planning and evaluation in the Puget Sound region (e.g., ESRP’s River Deltas Learning Objectives, PSP’s Estuaries Vital Sign and Common Chinook Indicators, NOAA’s Salmon Habitat Status and Trends Monitoring Program, and WDFW’s intertidal fish passage assessments) by providing spatial data that can be used to identify and evaluate restoration opportunities, inform development and evaluation of recovery targets at regional and system scales, and identify data gaps to guide future research needs.

Project Goals and Objectives

  • Compile available regional tidal barrier datasets into a spatial database with a consistent Coordinate Reference System (CRS).
  • Review compiled regional datasets and remote sensing of recent aerial imagery to create a standardized spatial database of tidal barrier features for Puget Sound’s large river deltas (Figure 1) that includes updated, corrected, and missing features based on aerial imagery interpretation.
  • Classify tidal connectivity impacts for mapped tidal barrier features based on feature types and aerial imagery interpretation.
  • Support the WDFW’s development of field assessment protocols for evaluating barriers to fish passage in intertidal habitats.
  • Ground truth and validate the remote sensing approach for identifying missing tidal barrier features, and classifying feature types and connectivity.
  • Update regional datasets for current and potential tidal wetland habitat based on the synthesized and updated spatial database of tidal barrier features that integrates classifications of connectivity impacts.
  • Make datasets generated as part of this project readily available through online data repositories to support regional salmon recovery planning.

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Map showing the geomorphic tidal floodplain boundaries for the large river delta systems that will be used as our study area and focus of our analysis (Purple). These large river delta boundaries were delineated as part of the SHSTMP, and are nested within the full analysis extent of the program that includes nearshore and floodplain habitats. The seaward boundaries of the geomorphic tidal floodplain extend to the boundary of vegetated marsh at the delta front. The boundary extends landward within the geomorphic floodplain of each river valley to capture floodplain surfaces that could potentially be tidally flooded based on PMEP extents. Note that the landward boundary does not include maximum head of tidal influence upriver in these systems, rather the landward boundary stops where tidal flooding is likely confined to the bankfull channel system.