Title

Comparison of State and County Management of Public Access Impacts to Intertidal Zone Biodiversity: A Case Study of Rocky

Presenter Information

Travis Grant

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 140

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Since 1972, the Coastal Zone Management Act requires all Washington State Shoreline Master Programs implemented by Island County and public shorelines managed by Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to promote public access while ensuring environmental protection. Human trampling of intertidal organisms poses serious threats to fragile populations and requires strategic management to maintain accessibility and biodiversity along public shorelines. Representing various levels of public access intensity classified by Washington Department of Ecology, public access criteria sheets and intertidal survey techniques were used to determine the amount of public access and biodiversity at 10 WDNR and 8 Island County sites. Biodiversity at previously sampled sites were compared to select study sites to validate sampling techniques. Management documents, interviews, and field surveys were used to determine the level of management at all public access sites using indicators established by Kreutzwiser et al. (1993). No significant differences were found in biodiversity between study and comparison sites, while several species were more abundant at high public access sites, suggesting higher accessibility does not negatively impact biodiversity, pre-determined levels of public access were not accurate, or other variables may be impacting biodiversity. Management scores indicated both agencies were very similar in protecting biodiversity and did not recognize unique environmental characteristics among sites that may be more related to varying biodiversity levels. However, Island County had a clear disadvantage in regards to budget, staff, and potential for collaboration. Despite the lack of site-specific plans, high public access sites are still effective in preserving biodiversity.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Anthony Gabriel, Michael Pease

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

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May 17th, 8:50 AM May 17th, 9:10 AM

Comparison of State and County Management of Public Access Impacts to Intertidal Zone Biodiversity: A Case Study of Rocky

SURC 140

Since 1972, the Coastal Zone Management Act requires all Washington State Shoreline Master Programs implemented by Island County and public shorelines managed by Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to promote public access while ensuring environmental protection. Human trampling of intertidal organisms poses serious threats to fragile populations and requires strategic management to maintain accessibility and biodiversity along public shorelines. Representing various levels of public access intensity classified by Washington Department of Ecology, public access criteria sheets and intertidal survey techniques were used to determine the amount of public access and biodiversity at 10 WDNR and 8 Island County sites. Biodiversity at previously sampled sites were compared to select study sites to validate sampling techniques. Management documents, interviews, and field surveys were used to determine the level of management at all public access sites using indicators established by Kreutzwiser et al. (1993). No significant differences were found in biodiversity between study and comparison sites, while several species were more abundant at high public access sites, suggesting higher accessibility does not negatively impact biodiversity, pre-determined levels of public access were not accurate, or other variables may be impacting biodiversity. Management scores indicated both agencies were very similar in protecting biodiversity and did not recognize unique environmental characteristics among sites that may be more related to varying biodiversity levels. However, Island County had a clear disadvantage in regards to budget, staff, and potential for collaboration. Despite the lack of site-specific plans, high public access sites are still effective in preserving biodiversity.