A project monitoring
population outcomes to estuary restoration examined responses of Skagit River
Chinook salmon to reconnection and restoration of estuarine by implementing
long-term monitoring of juvenile Chinook salmon rearing in tidal delta channels,
nearshore and offshore estuarine habitats. The monitoring project commenced in
2001 and was completed in 2010 and addressed three general questions: 1) Are
salmon limited during the early estuarine life stages by capacity and connectivity
constraints? 2) Does broad-scale restoration influence local population
density? And 3) Has estuary restoration resulted in population or system-level
responses? The results from the study showed that 1) restoration in the Skagit
River tidal delta is needed to address capacity and connectivity limitations,
2) local restoration did improve rearing densities for juvenile Chinook salmon,
and 3) system-wide responses can be detected using a before/after
control-impact BACI design. The results also proved that capacity limitations
still exist in the Skagit River tidal delta, based off of recruitment patterns,
therefore further tidal delta restoration is warranted.

 

The goal of the study was to
understand changes in population
characteristics (primarily abundance, productivity, and life history diversity)
of wild Chinook salmon in response to reconnection and restoration of estuarine
habitat.  The Skagit River Chinook salmon population was
intensively monitored using two methodologies to examine responses of juveniles
to estuary restoration: 1) long-term monitoring of the population in three
estuarine habitat types: the tidal delta, shoreline, and nearshore (subtidal
neritic), and 2) tagging studies during tidal delta and offshore habitat phases
to examine survival1. From
2000 onward, systematic effort to restore estuary habitat resulted in seven
successful projects in the region, and restored over 750 acres of salmon
habitat2.

 

 

Review of literature
Economic Valuation of Restoration Actions for Salmon and Forests and Associated
Wildlife in and along the Elwha River:

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The Elwha River Ecosystem
and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992 authorized the Secretary of the Interior
to acquire and remove two hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River (the Elwha and
Glines Canyon dams) and implement restoration initiatives to restore the Elwha
River and its native anadromous fisheries3.

 

1 Greene, C. and Beamer, E. 2012.

2 Ibid

3 Stratus Consulting Inc. 2015.

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