Western Region Project Update March 2013
WA-39-1 Nisqually NWR: DU completed construction of the Nisqually Estuary Restoration Project in 2009, and has since been involved with construction of the 1 mile long boardwalk, technical assistance regarding management of freshwater wetlands, and adaptive management/repairs to infrastructure. Steve Liske continues to be the primary point of contact with the refuge and is periodically asked to provide technical expertise. Steve also worked on the 1 mile long boardwalk following construction that now allows the public to walk out over the estuary and see the marsh firsthand during the non waterfowl hunting season. The primary ongoing activities associated with the project, which is led by USGS and the USFWS is monitoring. Extensive monitoring data and results can be viewed at: www.nisquallydeltarestoration.org Monitoring includes tide channel formation, sediment deposition, plants, birds, fish, invertebrates, etc. From 2010 to 2012, monitoring revealed a nearly 100% reduction in percent cover of reed canary-grass. There is currently an abundance of bare ground, yet much of the site is on a trajectory towards a native salt marsh plant community. Common species that are currently recolonizing include; salt grass, pickleweed, and seaside arrowgrass. We expect salt marsh vegetation to continue to increase over the majority of the site, with the exception of the tidal channels, over the next 5-10 years. There are abundant numbers of waterfowl, primarily dabbling ducks, using the project area, with approximately 4000-7000 dabblers and 500-1500 Canada geese found on the restored area alone since restoration occurred. Many other avian guilds, or groups of species, are benefitting from the restored historic habitat including; songbirds, raptors, shorebirds, gulls, terns, and many others.