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Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHiPS)
Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS)is a program that includes multiple work groups. Large River Deltas Team conducts research on nearshore processes, ecology and response to climate change and land use, including restoration. The CHIPS Team is actively working in the Skagit and Nisqually Deltas to improve understanding of sediment impacts to nearshore ecosystems and coastal community resilience related to river-delta channelization, watershed disturbances, sea-level rise, and retreating glaciers.
USGS Western Ecological Research Center
The USGS Western Ecological Research Center, San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station (SFBE) partnered with the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, and established the Nisqually Substation in 2009. SFBE staff have collaborated with the Refuge and Tribe to enact the post-restoration monitoring strategy set forth by the USFWS Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Ellings 2011. Together, USGS biologists, technicians, and interns have collected extensive post-restoration monitoring data on the opportunity, capacity, and realized function of the Nisqually River Delta to support juvenile Chinook salmon. These data include sedimentation, channel morphology, vegetation, invertebrate, salmon, and waterbird surveys that have culminated in over 6 years of continuous measurements. USGS WERC was also funded by an Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program ESRP grant in 2014 to assess the effects of restoration on the Nisqually River Delta – specifically, how invertebrate prey in the restoring habitat matrix contribute to juvenile Chinook salmon foraging capacity. Findings from this study are outlined in a summary report here.
Most recently, a collaborative effort is underway with USGS WERC partnering with several USGS and USFWS offices to assess blue carbon sequestration in the restoring marsh.