In 2014, the Washington State Legislature directed the creation of the Fish Barrier Removal Board (FBRB), a multi-entity committee tasked with the development of a statewide strategy for removing anadromous fish barriers. The strategy shall identify watersheds with the greatest potential for salmon and steelhead recovery and implement the removal of multiple barriers within those watersheds. Prioritizing whole watersheds for barrier removal is a new and untested approach to fish passage restoration in Washington State. To inform the FBRB’s watershed-based strategy, an analysis of aquatic habitat indicators was applied to a landscape-scale assessment of current and potential salmon and steelhead habitats in Puget Sound watersheds. Puget Sound watersheds were divided into 92 hydrologic units for a spatial analysis of 2 selected habitat indicators that correspond to habitat suitability and anthropogenic disturbance: potential for steelhead rearing and impervious land cover. Metrics of intrinsic potential for steelhead rearing and impervious surface land cover are presented in a decision support matrix for watershed prioritization of fish passage restoration.

Zweifel, Justin C.
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86 pp
Natural Resources, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
Master of Science