Final Report: Yaquina and Alsea River Basins Estuarine Wetland Site Prioritization Project
Estuarine wetlands are vitally important habitats for salmon and other species. This project, commissioned in 1998, is part of the Mid-Coast Watersheds Council’s efforts to better understand the status and
Estuarine wetlands are vitally important habitats for salmon and other species. This project, commissioned in 1998, is part of the Mid-Coast Watersheds Council’s efforts to better understand the status and conditions of the area’s natural resources and to work with interested landowners to enhance and protect important areas. This work compliments and extends the assessment work being done in the streams and watersheds of the Yaquina and Alsea Rivers.
This project surveyed estuarine wetland sites in the Alsea and Yaquina basins. Sites surveyed were tidal wetlands falling within Jefferson’s (1975) plant community categories of low silt marsh, low sand marsh, sedge marsh, immature high marsh, and mature high marsh. (Mud flats, algal flats, and eelgrass beds were not included.) The goal was to prioritize these tidal wetland sites for protection and restoration activity. The information provided by this study provides a basis for working with the interested landowners to develop site-specific action plans. Development of these action plans will require landowner contact, field work, and other steps outlined elsewhere in this report.
Information critical to making decisions on site protection and erstoration was gathered from interviews, publicly available sources, and off-site field work (see below). Aerial photos were crucial to the analysis; copies of the most recent photos have been provided to the MidCoast Watershed Council. Information gathered was stored in site information tables (Appendix B), which are to be used with accompanying site locator maps (Appendix C). Site-specific data fields in site information tables include:
- legal description of location
- approximate acreage
- number of landowners
- major landowner names
- current vegetation community
- types of alteration (if any)
- date of first alteration
- possible actions (type of restoration or project)
- current land use on and adjacent to site
- connection to streams (other than mainstream rivers)
- site-specific comments from local and regional experts
- recommended next action step
Using the information gathered, sites were assigned to priority ranking groups for restoration or protection (see Site ranking below, and Appendix A).