Multi-Disciplinary Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound
The overall health of the Puget Sound (Sound) estuary has steadily decreased with the increase in population and development of the Puget Sound Basin. Impairment of nearshore processes and habitat in the Sound, extending along over 2,000 miles of shoreline, is believed to be a critical factor in the declining health of the Puget Sound ecosystem. However, the complex role of geological, biological, and hydrological habitat-forming processes in maintaining ecosystem health is poorly understood.
In response to past and ongoing pressures on the nearshore of Puget Sound, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has joined state natural resource agencies, other Federal agencies, tribes, the commercial sector, non-governmental organizations, universities and numerous local governments to form the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration (PSNER) partnership. The PSNER partnership is working to restore and preserve nearshore habitat to help rehabilitate the health of the Puget Sound ecosystem and prevent additional damage in the future as human population in the basin continues to increase.
To enable the selection of optimum management options, PSNER partners need the ability to predict and evaluate outcomes of possible restoration and preservation options prior to their implementation. In addition, once options have been implemented, outcomes need to be monitored to verify that the projects have their intended impacts and can be adjusted as needed. This adaptive management approach to ecosystem rehabilitation requires that the ecological function of the nearshore habitat of Puget Sound be better understood.