Conceptual Model for Assessing Restoration of Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystems

Simenstad, C., M. Logsdon, K. Fresh, H. Shipman, M. Dethier and J. Newton

Publication Date:

The Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) Nearshore Science Team (NST) has developed a Conceptual Model framework to aid in assessing restoration and preservation measures for nearshore ecosystems in Puget Sound, Washington. This framework was designed primarily as a synthesis tool to better understand nearshore ecosystem processes and the response of nearshore ecosystems to different stressors or, alternatively, restoration actions. It may also serve as a tool to plan and guide the scientific elements of the restoration project. The overall goal of the NST for this Conceptual Model is to build a synthetic, ecosystem-process-based understanding about how Puget Sound’s nearshore ecosystems “work.” This approach is based on the underlying assumption that alterations of natural hydrologic, geomorphologic, and ecological processes impair important nearshore ecosystem structures, which are in turn responsible for ecosystems goods, services, and functions that have societal value. We define ecosystem processes as any interactions among physiochemical and biological elements of an ecosystem that involve changes in character or “state” over time. Because ecosystems are continuously being shaped and reshaped by a variety of physical, geochemical, and biotic processes, they are characterized by changes in state over multiple space and time scales, such as change in chemical composition (e.g., nutrient transformations), biomass (e.g., production and consumption), and movement of material (e.g., sediment transport). The composition, shape, and other characteristics of nearshore ecosystems, such as beach slope and sediment composition, that we may observe at any point in time are the net effect of the interactions of these processes.

Resource Type:
Technical Document

Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership