Cherry Point Monitoring Program ENVR 456 2012
The Cherry Point region has been the subject of a great deal of controversy. The history of the management activities for this area and the planning of the Cherry Point Marine Reserve has been well documented at this link.
The information at this website includes the current proposed management plan for this region as developed by the WA Department of Natural Resources and the Cherry Point Work Group (CPWG)Members. The management plan details what aspects of the area are to be managed, what we call in the environmental toxicology and risk assessment business management endpoints or ecological services.
In the fall of 2010 Lands Commissioner Goldmark the management signed the management plan for the Cherry Point Marine Reserve at a ceremony at Birch Bay Park. He was very nice to mention the role that Western Washington University had played in the formation of this management plan. However, there is a long way to go before implementation can take place.
This quarter we are planning to investigate tools to monitor four aspects covered in the DNR Management Plan for Cherry Point. These are:
Group 1 Effects due to persistent organic pollutants. The goal of this working group is to produce a monitoring strategy to observe the potential effects of materials such as PCBs, TCDDs, PBDEs and other materials that may be transported to the Cherry Point region. PAHs are also included in this charge for organisms that do not readily metabolize this class of compounds. Part of the charge is to be able to correlate potential exposure to effects seen in the fish, invertebrates and the macrophytes/macroalgae in this region.
Group 2 Effects to terrestrial wildlife. Birds are considered an important endpoint in the management plan. A variety of species use the Cherry Point region for at least part of the year for feeding and the Great Blue Heron also nests in the area. This group may also investigate potential routes of bioaccumulation-biomagnification of contaminants to this specific endpoint as a means of measuring exposure.
Group 3 Effluents and stormwater effects. The region is the site of several industrial effluents along with storm water from a variety of sources. The effluents are subject to the NPDES process and data do exist on the toxicity tests that are performed as part of the permit. However, stormwarter runnoff is not as well characterized from the roads, agricultural areas and developments that may contribute contamiants to the area.
Group 4 Effects to resident-semi resident marine community. The marine community is comprised on the macrophytes and macroalgae, the resident invertebrates such as the starfish, crabs, barnacles and other crustacae. Juvinille Dungeness crab also use the region. Note that this charge is based at the community level--not just the individuals that make up this set of interacting organisms.
Group 5 Non-resident marine organisms. The Cherry Point region is a spawning site for the Cherry Point stock of Pacific herring (CPPH). The CPPH spawn in the spring, the eggs hatch and then the fry move offshore. Other forage fish (sand lance and surf smelt) can also use the area for spawning. Salmon move through the area to spawn in Wiser Lake. Very occasionally Grey whales are observed in the region during their annual migrations. The area is very important for these organisms but they only spend a portion of their lives in the region making it a monitoring challenge.