Posts Tagged ‘Nisqually Reach’

Three new WA State Aquatic Reserves join National System of Marine Protected Areas

May 1, 2012
Bald eagle over Nisqually Reach

A bald eagle flies over Nisqually Reach. Photo: DNR

DNR is pleased to announce that all seven aquatic reserves in Washington State are now part of the National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The following three new reserves were added to the MPA system on April 19, along with 55 other nominees from the United Stated and its territories:

Protection Island Aquatic Reserve, north of Discovery Bay in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Established in 2010. Encompasses approximately 24,000 acres of DNR-managed tidelands and bedlands surrounding the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Smith & Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve, off the western shore of Whidbey Island in Island County. Established in 2010. Encompasses approximately 36,000 acres of DNR-managed tidelands and bedlands surrounding the Smith & Minor Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve, north of Olympia in Thurston County. Established in 2011. Encompasses approximately 15,000 acres of DNR-managed tidelands and bedlands.

The national MPA system provides a means for individual MPAs, such as DNR’s aquatic reserves, to work together to leverage resources, coordinate regional planning, and more effectively improve protection for natural and cultural resources. Membership in the national MPA system does not change the management of the site or entail any restrictions on access or use. There are currently 355 members of the National System of MPAs.

The four other DNR-managed aquatic reserves were previously accepted into the national MPA system are Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, Cypress Island Aquatic Reserve (and Natural Resources Conservation Area), Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve, and Maury Island Aquatic Reserve.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administers the national MPA system. The MPA list is updated annually.

DNR’s Aquatic Reserves Program
As steward of 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR is establishing aquatic reserves throughout the state to protect important native ecosystems. This protection effort promotes the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of state-owned aquatic lands that are of special educational, scientific, or environmental value. Aquatic reserves are established through rigorous scientific scrutiny and extensive public input.

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A lumpsucker by any other name… Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve is home to small, colorful fish

March 28, 2012
Pacific spiny lump sucker

Pacific spiny lump sucker (Eumicrotremus orbis) found in the waters of Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve. Photo: Michael Grilliot/DNR

Sometimes, life is like hauling up a seine net: you never know what you’re going to get!

Like a Pacific spiny lumpsucker, for example.

While collecting data on salmon a few weeks ago in the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve, scientists from DNR and the Nisqually River Foundation hauled up this little “lumpy”—as divers affectionately call it. Scientifically, the fish is known as Eumicrotremus orbis—a word that is longer than the tiny fish. This one was all of 2 inches.

Underwater photographer Scott Boyd has some great photos and a description of these fish, which can be found hanging out in eelgrass beds at night.

So what’s with the photo of this fish? Why does it look like it’s swimming in mid-air? Walker Duval, a biologist with The Nisqually River Foundation, developed this simple Plexiglas box that scientists can put fish in to take their photo.

And what became of the lump sucker after its 5 seconds of fame? It was measured and then returned safely into the Sound. 

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark dedicated the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Center in September 2011. Nisqually Reach is the seventh and most recent Aquatic Reserve managed by DNR.

View more photos from the fish sampling.

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