Statement of the Problem
Increasing pressures on the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Ferry System require terminal expansion in the near future. In addition, overall population pressures on the shoreline are increasing. Consequently, there is a pressing need to gather scientific data that can contribute to cumulative impact assessments of fery terminals and other shoreline structures that potentially affect nearshore resources and ecological processes.
Results of the WSDOT research workshops in 1996, reviews of comments on recent ferry terminal expansion permit applications, and interactions with state and federal resource management agencies have prompted WSDOT to continue to expand the scope of its applied research on the nearshore effects of ferry terminals. Because of the increased concern for and anticipated listing of Pacific salmon stocks under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), WSDOT is specifically interested in resolving issues and approaches for mitigating impacts to migrating juvenile salmon. Nearshore habitats -- such as eelgrass and macroalgae, unvegetated sediments, and some artificial substrata -- provide shelter, refuge from predation, and feeding grounds for a variety of species, particularly juvenile salmon duing their nearshore migration.
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