The Nisqually Estuary is being restored in unprecedented ways! The media is paying attention too!
What’s enclosed below are several excerpts about what’s going on as viewed by recreationalists / journalists.
After a century of diking off tidal flow, the Brown Farm Dike was removed to inundate 308 ha of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) on 11 November 2009. along with 57 ha wetlands restored by the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Nisqually Delta represents the largest tidal marsh restoration project in the Pacific Northwest to assist in recovery of Puget Sound salmon and wildlife populations. Over the past decade, the Refuge and close partners, including the Tribe and Ducks Unlimited, have restored more than 35 km of the historic tidal slough systems and re-connected historic floodplains to Puget Sound, increasing potential salt marsh habitat in the southern reach of Puget Sound by 50%.
Estuarine restoration of this magnitude and the potential contribution to restoration science is unprecedented in Puget Sound. Because the mosaic of estuarine habitats, this large-scale restoration is expected to result in a considerable increase in regional ecological functions and services, representing one of the most significant advances to date towards the recovery of Puget Sound. The US Geological Survey is the lead science agency providing science support to document habitat development and ecosystem function with large-scale restoration.
From: Nisqually Delta Restoration
As the light fades and the tide creeps out to sea, they come by twos and threes, their wings whistling in the evening sky: ducks, alighting on the mud flats for supper.
This sight, so ordinary, is extraordinary here. For more than 100 years the tide was fenced out of this estuary with dikes. But beginning in the fall of 2009, the dikes were removed, and the tide welcomed back to 762 acres of the refuge. Combined with parts of the estuary already restored by the Nisqually Tribe, nearly a square mile of habitat has been returned to its natural state, the biggest nature reboot north of San Francisco Bay.
The restoration project, totaling about $13 million, is already working. Salmon started using the newly available habitat immediately, not only those from the Nisqually watershed but beyond, including chinook, coho, chum and pinks. Tags were recovered from hatchery salmon reared from as far away as northern Puget Sound.
From: Seattle Times
The new boardwalk trail is 100 percent accessible for people using a wheelchair and at 8 feet wide, comfortable for walking with companions. Because it pushes so far out into the estuary, it allows a visual immersion at both high tide and low.
“You could spend a whole day here, watching all the changes,” Takekawa said. And it’s true: The light and cloud cover change and the water levels build and recede, bringing different birds that utilize deeper or shallower water, or exposed mud flats.
The first piece of the trail will be open by the end of the month — no date certain has been set yet — just in time to enjoy the winter birds in the refuge.
American wigeons, green wing teal, Canada geese, dunlin, yellowlegs, northern pintails are all here to enjoy, along with those glorious standbys, bald eagles, great blue herons and belted kingfishers. A white egret egret (ēgrĕt`), common name for several species of herons of the Old and New Worlds, belonging to the family Ardeidae. Before they were protected by law the birds were nearly exterminated by hunters seeking their beautiful, white, silky was thrilling birders lately, a surprise visitor out of its usual southern range.
“You never know what you are going to see,” Takekawa said, “and it is different every day.”
Above excerpt is From: Free Library