Quinault Reservation hypoxia monitoring 

Understanding Potential Impacts of Seasonal Hypoxia Along the Quinault Reservation Coast

This project will create a low-cost model nearshore and a shore-based monitoring network that will engage tribal fishers and youth in gathering coastal water-quality information related to ocean acidification.

Principal Investigator

Ervin Joe Schumacker, Quinault Indian Nation

Project

In recent years, fish kills caused by assumed hypoxia events have occurred along the Quinault Reservation coast, and historically robust razor clam populations on beaches are showing poor recruitment and survival. This project will create a low-cost model nearshore and a shore-based monitoring network that will engage tribal fishers and youth in gathering coastal water-quality information related to ocean acidification. Participants will quantify the impacts of seasonal hypoxia on Pacific razor clams, develop adaptive management plans for this and other species, and contribute to ongoing efforts to understand marine environmental changes on the West Coast.

Research Updates

Washington Sea Grant-supported researchers developed a shore-based water quality monitoring program for Taholah High School. High school students conducted water quality sampling at estuarine and marine locations and researchers provided instruction to students and teachers. High school sampling data complement those collected by the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary mooring buoy and data that will be collected by crab-pot sampling platforms designed by the research team.

Eleven high school students and three teachers participated in water quality sampling.  Sampling yielded useful data on temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen, while providing students with hands-on learning about monitoring methods, instrument calibration and operation, data recording, analysis and visualization. This provided students with a foundation for understanding physical and biological changes to their ecosystems and how those changes connect to a larger ecosystem. The monitoring curriculum is being incorporated into the school’s ongoing natural sciences program.