Conservation, Research and Education Opportunities International

Restoring an endemic species to native tidelands: Olympia oysters in Swinomish pocket estuaries

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Water property monitoring

This project is a continuation of a 2015 CREOi award for an Olympia oyster restoration project. The 2016 grant supports enhancing the oyster population with 34 bags of seeded cultch (Pacific oyster shell with young Olympia oysters on the shell). This new cohort will increase the size of our restoration area and, ideally, assist in the creation of self-sustaining oyster beds. The grant will also support the monitoring of water properties at the two oyster restoration sites on a bi-weekly basis as a continuation of the baseline habitat assessment outlined in the Swinomish Olympia Oyster Monitoring Plan. Water temperature and salinity are key environmental metrics for Olympia oysters because they are sensitive to freezing temperatures and periods of depressed salinity in the winter months and because they spawn when a critical temperature threshold has been reached in late spring months. Quantifying the temporal variability of water property conditions in the pocket estuaries will provide insights into possible causes of success and/or failure at the Swinomish enhancement sites. ($10,400)