Mapping Benthic Habitats in San Juan Historical Parks

Marine Benthic Habitat Mapping of the San Juan Island National Historical Park

Funded by the National Park Service
Co-PI’s: H. Gary Greene and S. Wyllie-Echeverria

In response to the U.S. National Parks Service’s (NPS) interest to map the submerged lands within park boundaries and to understand the aquatic processes that play a role in the formation, distribution and disturbance of coastal and submarine resources in and around park boundaries, research scientists at the Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL), University of Washington (UW), propose to construct a series of thematic maps that can be used by San Juan Island National Historical Park (SJINHP) personnel to evaluate and manage nearshore and offshore resources. To accomplish this task we will:

  1. (1) compile all available seafloor mapping data in and around the SJINHP including, but not necessarily limited to, multibeam echosounder (MBES) bathymetry and backscatter data, terrestrial LiDAR and photographic data, and sediment sample information,
  2. (2) analyze and interpret new data collected in spring, summer or fall 2010,
  3. (3) construct site specific habitat and geologic maps.
  4. We will also produce a worksheet and flow-chart (guide), based on our approach and methods, for the implementation of benthic habitat mapping at NPS’s shoreline parks that border marine and estuarine coastlines.

New data being collected by the Canadian Hydrographic Service under mapping efforts of the Tombolo/SeaDoc Society-Geological Survey of Canada cooperative will be used to update the compiled data and any previously constructed maps. The FHL team will launch two projects that will drive the development of final products. Specifically the team will:

  1. (1) interpret data using the mapping code used in the mapping of marine benthic habitats of the San Juan Archipelago, the California State Mapping Program (CSMP) and for the construction of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GOGA) maps using the classification scheme of Greene et al.(1999, 2005, 2007), which has been incorporated into NOAA’s Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS)
  2. (2) using the sampling platforms of underwater video (Norris, Wyllie-Echeverria and others 1997) and a bottom sediment sampler, collect data to characterize benthic habitats, not yet sampled, in the project sites.