Puget Sound / Willapa Bay Expedition 2000



Following are site description for the 28 field sites visited by the Puget Sound / Willapa Bay 2000 Expedition in Washington State, May 17-23, 2000. The information is organized as follows: in date order, with 7 Elliott Bay sites (May 17, 18), 6 Totten and Eld Inlet sites (May 19, 20), and 15 Willapa Bay sites (May 21, 22, 23). Each site description includes the name, sampling time and date, GPS location, and two descriptive paragraphs - the first includes physical characteristics and the second is the summary of the biotic community. Salinity units are from refractometer readings and are given here in psu (practical salinity units). Temperature readings are from a thermometer. Where available, I have linked the site descriptions to photographs in the Washington State Department of Ecology Shoreline Photo database on the web - these (10,000) photographs were taken between 1992 and 1997 (the Bell Harbor Marina was not in existence at the time of the appropriate photograph).


1. Bell Harbor Marina, Pier 66, Elliott Bay 8:30-9:30 am, 17 May 2000
47° 36' 36.698" N; 122° 20' 48.790" W
Salinity 26 psu; temperature 12°C

Port of Seattle marina in downtown Seattle that receives quite a bit of international yacht traffic and is adjacent to new cruise ship facility; recommended to us by Port of Seattle environmental engineer, George Blomberg. The marina is composed of concrete floats and steel pilings; we sampled both, as well as observing jelly-plankton from the floats (C.E. Mills returned at high tide (5:00-6:00 pm), when the jelly community was much denser to finish macroplankton observations). The benthos under most of the marina is mixed coarse rock, but we found some mud for a benthic grab near the center of the marina about 8 m below the water surface.

Float community dominated by kelps (especially Desmarestia and Lamminaria) and mussels with small barnacles. Pilings covered with barnacles (Balanus glandula and Chthamalus) high, with mussels and Metridium common below the water line. Plankton with abundant small hydromedusae, especially Clytia gregarium, Eutonina indicans, Aequorea victoria and Leuckartiara sp.


2. Myrtle Edwards Park, in front of Elliott Bay Fishing Pier 10:30-11:10 am, 17 May 2000
47° 37' 35.897" N; 122° 22' 20.031" W
Salinity 27 psu; temperature 12°C

Seattle City Park shoreline composed of large boulder riprap dropping steeply to below the water line; adjacent to grain terminal with ship from Panama in port.

Biotic community on boulders dominated by mixed algae in the low intertidal including Enteromorpha, Ulva, Mastocarpus, Iridaea, Polysiphonia, Cryptosiphonia and other species; small numbers of mixed invertebrates on the undersides of rocks. High intertidal dominated by barnacles, littorines, and limpets.


3a. Sandy north-facing beach south of Pier 90, Elliott Bay 10:50-11:50 am, 17 May 2000
47° 37' 51.840" N; 122° 22' 40.261" W
Salinity 27 psu; temperature 14°C

Port of Seattle fine-sand beach in protected cove facing Pier 90. Low and mid-intertidal sandy with a few pebbles, cobbles and boulders. Upper intertidal riprapped; scotch broom prominant above shoreline.

Sand flats dominated by Macoma nasuta, with Tellina modesta and Macoma balthica; low muddy sand with abundant capitellids, nephtyids and glycerid/glycinid worms. Abundant juvenile English Sole in the shallow subtidal.

3b. Smith Cove (north of Pier 91), Elliott Bay 11:45 am, 17 May 2000
(no GPS)

Jeff Cordell, who was unable to join us at Myrtle Edwards Park, waited for us at Smith Cove Park and took a plankton tow there at 11:45 am.


4a. Magnolia Park beach, north Elliott Bay 12:30-1:25 pm, 17 May 2000
47° 37' 56.463" N; 122° 23' 54.932" W
Salinity 27 psu; temperature 16°C

Seattle City Park beach with outfall. Low intertidal with pebble-cobble veneer over coarse sandy pockets, with a few boulders; outfall pipe empties onto riprap in upper intertidal; small backshore beach with logs.

Low intertidal cobbles coated with barnacles and ulvoid green algae, with some Anthopleura elegantissima on the undersides. Calliopea amphipods abundant in the surf, Nereocystis bed offshore, common worms include nephtyids, capitellids and glycerids/goniatids; Idotea abundant under high rocks.

4b. Elliott Bay Marina, north Elliott Bay 3:40-5:00 pm, 17 May 2000
(no GPS, but about 200 m east of Magnolia Park beach)

Large, private recreational marina; sampled macrozooplankton primarily off the west side of Pier A, adjacent to the sea wall, to match the Magnolia Park samples.

Incoming tide provided thousands of small hydromedusae, teeming alongside the dock, especially Clytia gregaria, with large numbers also of Eutonina indicans, Proboscidactyla flavicirrata, Aequorea victoria and Mitrocoma cellularia; ctenophores and young scyphomedusae scarce, but present.


5. Duwamish River, western channel across from Kellogg Island 9:30-10:40 am, 18 May 2000
47° 33' 33.256" N; 122° 21' 04.845" W
Salinity 10 psu; temperature 13°C

Public access point along the industrial Duwamish waterway, facing the fairly natural Kellogg Island ­ the site is at the last remaining natural meander of the lower Duwamish River. Upper intertidal fairly sandy with brick debris from defunct brick factory, low intertidal soft mud with some brick and wood pieces and few large logs.

Low intertidal with lots of Gnorimosphaeroma, Corophium salmonis, and almost no clams. Logs with lots of shipworm bores, barnacles and Mytilus. Upper intertidal with Balanus, Fucus, Enteromorpha and occasional Hemigrapsus oregonensis.


6. Seacrest Park, Duwamish Head, south Elliott Bay 10:50-11:50 am, 18 May 2000
47° 35' 20.417" N; 122° 22' 49.255" W
Salinity 26 psu; temperature 13°C

Seattle City Park with pebble-cobble pocket beach, areas of steep boulder-cobble riprap extending to below the waterline, fishing pier on pilings and public float.

Low intertidal with diverse algae (especially reds) and invertebrates; high riprap dominated by Fucus. Benthic grabs with abundant worms and amphipods; hydromedusae and young scyphomedusae common in the plankton.


7a. Turning basin, Duwamish River 12:40-1:20 pm, 18 May 2000
47° 30' 38.590" N; 122° 18' 11.484" W
Salinity 2 psu; temperature 15°C

Site of multi-agency Carex-marsh restoration project and public access at about 103rd Street, off West Marginal Place S. Lower intertidal soft mudflat with small tidal feeder-creeks, upper mudflat gravelly; anoxic beginning about 1 cm below the surface.

Mudflat with a surface coat of fine filamentous green algae and Enteromorpha, and perforated with small polychaete and amphipod tube-holes; barnacles on concrete debris.

7b. Duwamish Yacht Club marina, Duwamish River 1:45-2:15 pm, 18 May 2000
(no GPS)
Salinity 2 psu

Private marina at 1801 S. 93rd Street (about 1/4 mile north of the turning basin), with floating concrete docks; few lines or bumpers in the water, but one boat on Pier A had a heavily-fouled metal ladder hanging down into the water.

Floats and ladder heavily fouled with green filamentous algal slime extending out many cm; Corophium spinicorne and small colonies of Cordylophora caspia found on submerged ladder rungs; lots of barnacles on pilings.



8a. Taylor Shellfish boat ramp, Totten Inlet 9:20-9:50 am, 19 May 2000
47° 09' 10.043" N; 122° 57' 51.991" W
Salinity 29 psu; temperature 13°C

Neighborhood street-end with boat ramp belonging to Taylor Shellfish. Low-angle beach with mixed gravel-pebble-cobble veneer overlying clay-silt hardpan. Upper intertidal with narrow pebble and shellhash band and concrete bulkhead. Nice neighborhood dog.

Heavy barnacle coat on pebbles and cobbles; patchy ulvoids on hardpan; Taylor's oyster bags lying on the low intertidal.

8b. Taylor Shellfish mussel rafts, Gallagher Cove, Totten Inlet 10:00-11:10 am, 19 May 2000
47° 09' 10.043" N; 122° 57' 51.991" W
Salinity 30 psu; temperature 14°C

Set of three wooden floating rafts supported by plastic-galvanized drums, with 10' long lines hanging down, coated with cultured mussels and other fouling invertebrates. The mussels are grown here for 12 to 16 months prior to harvest.

Mytilus galloprovincialis seeded onto lines is the dominant organism, but it is densely covered with sponge, botryllid tunicates, Metridium and diatoms, as well as smaller numbers of many other invertebrates. Pleurobrachia bachei was the most abundant macrozooplankter.


9. Kamilche Point at junction of Little Skookum Inlet and Totten Inlet 12:30-1:40 pm, 19 May 2000
47° 09' 07.253" N; 123° 01' 06.195" W
Salinity 30 psu; temperature 15°C

Private beach, with commercial plantings of oysters in the low intertidal and clams in the mid-intertidal. Moderately steep beach of sand with pebble veneer; patches of hardpan emerge in the mid and high intertidal; backshore concrete bulkhead.

Nearly solid Crassostrea gigas oysters coated with ulvoids and miscellaneous red algae in the low intertidal, bounded at the upper end by an old dike, with dense bivalves including Venerupis (Tapes), Tresus and Saxidomas in the mid-intertidal.


10. Kennedy Creek at head of Totten Inlet 2:25-3:15 pm, 19 May 2000
47° 05' 56.949" N; 123° 05' 10.404" W
Salinity 0.5 psu; temperature 14°C

Protected river delta at the head of Totten Inlet, accessed from highway pull-off. With extensive backshore saltmarsh and gravelly mudflats and a 0.5 m bank separating the two habitats.

Mudflats with sparse green algae, small barnacles on pebbles, branches and other debris; soft mud dominated by Neanthes succinea; gravelly mud with abundant Corophium salmonis, and cumaceans in fine sediments at the waterline. Saltmarsh characterized by two species of Juncus, and with a patch of about 20 chocolate lilies, Fritillaria lanceolata.


11. The Evergreen State College Beach, Eld Inlet 12:20-1:00 pm, 20 May 2000
47° 05' 11.682" N; 122° 58' 31.869" W
Salinity 29 psu; temperature 15°C

Protected, moderately-sloping beach with backshore glacial feeder-bluff. Middle and lower intertidal with mixed fine muddy sand with pebbles, cobbles and significant shell hash. Upper intertidal pebble and cobble beach with a few boulders.

Biotic community with abundant bivalve and polychaete infauna. Common clams included Protothaca staminea, Macoma nasuta and M. inquinata, Clinocardium nuttallii and Saxidomus giganteus. Common worms included Hemipodus borealis, Nereis vexillosa, Harmithoe imbricata and Ophiodromus pugettensis. Barnacles abundant on pebbles, cobbles and boulders.


12. Steamboat Island at junction of Totten Inlet and Eld Inlet 1:45-3:00 pm, 20 May 2000
47° 11' 05.687" N; 122° 56' 22.366" W
Salinity 31 psu; temperature 13°C

Beach accessed by gated, public access(?) "street end" labeled with "No Trespassing" sign. We walked several hundred yards down a moderately steep beach with pebble, cobble and sand veneer, backed by concrete bulkheads, with a beached wooden float in the lower intertidal. Primary sampling location was a lower intertidal mudstone bench with sheer drop-off on the water side, but only about one m of such exposed.

Lower intertidal beach with Ulva and Porphyra, prominent band of Laminaria saccharina with mixed red algae and band of Sargassum muticum in the shallow subtidal. Mudstone bench with dense mat of ulvoid green algae, and dense red and brown algae at lower levels; abundant Schizoporella in lower intertidal and otherwise diverse invertebrate community including starfish, limpets, gastropods. Zirphaea bivalves boring into the mudstone at upper elevations in the bench.


13. Mud Bay at head of Eld Inlet 4:55-5:25 pm, 20 May 2000
47° 03' 20.778" N; 122° 59' 19.758" W
Salinity 2 psu; temperature 15°C

Protected river delta at the head of Eld Inlet, accessed from private property. With extensive backshore saltmarsh and very soft mudflats and a 0.5 m bank separating the two habitats.

Mudflats dominated by Neanthes succinea, a few Mya arenaria, abundant Nippoleucon hinumensis at the waterline, and barnacles, littorines and Diadumene lineata on pebbles in the mud. Saltmarsh characterized by Juncus ?filiformis interspersed with Potentilla, with Salicornia in low spots.



14. Naselle River Bridge, Willapa Bay 9:15-10:00 am, 21 May 2000
46° " N; 123° " W
Salinity 9 psu, temperature 16°C (main channel)
Salinity 5 psu, temperature 15°C (intertidal creek in Spartina)

Sampled saltmarsh, mudflat and concrete bridge supports in the Naselle River channel on the south side of the Highway 101 bridge. Supratidal riprapped backshore. Water samples were also collected from the bridge.

Marsh with Carex, Triglochin and Spartina. Fucus on high rocks, with Neotrapezium liratum bivalves under the rocks. Mudflat with Zostera japonica cover, abundant Ilyanassa obsoleta, and some clams and polychaetes. Crassostrea gigas oysters with associated Odostomia snails and Neotrapezium dominant on bridge support-pilings.


15. Goose Point near Bay Center, Willapa Bay 10:45am-12:30 pm, 21 May 2000
46° " N; 123 " W
(no water accessible for salinity and temperature readings)

Extensive mudflat with a few Spartina clones; upland bluffs with fossil layer of primarily native oyster and ghost-shrimp burrows. High intertidal hard clayey- mud; middle intertidal sandy-firm mud with pools and shallow channels. Expeditioneers did not get into low intertidal.

Lots of Spartina wrack near high water line; high intertidal with some Spartina clones grading into sand with Abarenicola lugworm castings; mid intertidal covered with Zostera japonica, with many Neotrypaea and Upogebia holes, amphipod Eohaustorius abundant, but patchy; Zostera marina in tidepools.


16. Port of Bay Center, small boat harbor, Willapa Bay 1:10-1:45 pm, 21 May 2000
46° " N; 123° " W
Salinity 17 psu, temperature 17°C

Small boat harbor with fishing boats, surrounded by commercial oyster-processing facilities. Wooden floats supported by uncoated (orange) styrofoam, with creosoted wood pilings along slough channel; silt and mud bottom. Industrial-smelling oily sheen on water surface throughout marina. Large mounds of oyster shells along shoreline.

Floats dominated by heavily-silted, filamentous diatom scuzz growing on all surfaces; abundant invertebrates included yellow sponge, Crassostrea gigas, Metridium and ubiquitous Diadumene lineata anemones, and Obelia hydroids; Enteromorpha at the waterline. Oysters dominated pilings, with some barnacles higher up.


17. Palix River "freshwater" site (#1), Willapa Bay 9:55-10:35 am, 21 May 2000
46° 36' 06.236" N; 123° 52' 58.946" W
Salinity 0 psu, temperature 14°C

Narrow river channel (about 8 m wide) with fresh water at low tide.Exposed fine-mud river banks with moderate slope up to Caryx lyngbii meadow with yarrow. Logs and branches in river bed.

Logs and emergent branches with barnacles, green algae, Corophium, hydroid Cordylophora caspia. Mud with abundant polychaetes.


18. Palix River pilings site (#2), Willapa Bay 10:50-11:05 am, 21 May 2000
46° 36' 10.700" N; 123° 54' 47.270" W
Salinity 6 psu, temperature 16°C

Sampled set of four upright pilings and one fallen piling mid-river.

Exposed fauna and flora on pilings from uppermost to lowest were: barnacles, Ulva/Porphyra algae, mussels and oysters, and hydroids, some of which were coated with Conopeum. Plankton tow yielded no medusae.


19. Oyster flats south of Wilson Point (Palix River site #3), Willapa Bay 11:20-11:40 am, 21 May 2000
46° 38' 57.879" N; 123° 57' 09.608" W
Salinity 22 psu, temperature 22°C

Sampled southern edge of oyster flat belonging to David Nisbet, near the entrance to the Palix River. Flat composed of uniformly fine sand/mud, with Zostera marina growing just below the tideline.

Oysters with abundant botryllid tunicates of various colors, Polysiphonia, and Ulva. Mud with thin Zostera japonica cover and infauna with abundant capitellids, nephthids and hemichordates.


20. Palix River Spartina control site and Palix River Bridge (#4), Willapa Bay 12:00-12:20 pm, 21 May 2000
46° 36' 46.551" N; 123° 54' 56.389" W
Salinity 18 psu, temperature 24°C

Site of intensive Spartina control through use of herbicides; flats of sandy mud, with hydrogen sulfide very near the surface. Also scraped concrete pilings under Palix River bridge on Highway 101 a few hundred meters upriver.

Upper tidal flat dominated by dead Spartina stems, with a few live Spartina shoots, and Triglochin and Salicornia becoming established. Lower intertidal with cover of Zostera japonica grading into Zostera marina at the water line, with Nippoleucon, Grandidiorella and Corophium atcherusicum abundant. Concrete pilings with green filamentous algae high up, and barnacles, oysters and mussels below; with Diadumene lineata anemones on the oysters.


21. Stackpole Slough in Leadbetter Point State Park, Willapa Bay 10:45am-12:00 noon, 22 May 2000
46° 36' 21.345" N; 124° 02' 35.516" W
Salinity 19 psu, temperature 17°C (slough)
Salinity 7 psu, temperature 22°C (intertidal creek)

Slough accessed from short, narrow trail in Leadbetter Point State Park. Extensive high intertidal Spartina stand penetrated by intertidal creek with sandy bottom; mid-intertidal sandy-mudflat sloping down to slough, with oyster flats on the other side of the slough.

Spartina alterniflora with dense mats of blue green algae over sandy-mud substrate, grading downward into dense Zostera japonica with some blue-green algae on mid-intertidal slope, with some Z. japonica intermixing with dense Z. marina in slough. Old, broken Spartina stems coated with barnacles; Z. japonica zone with abundant infauna of Arenicola, capitellids and nephthids, grading into small clams and polychaetes in the sandy slough bottom. Creek with abundant Venerupis philippinarum at the level of the Spartina stand. Both species of Zostera with abundant reproductive shoots. Large heap of Japanese oysters drills left by growers to die at beach-end of trail.

22. Nahcotta Small Boat Basin, Port of Peninsula, Willapa Bay 1:40-2:30 pm, 22 May 2000
46° 30' 02.348" N; 124° 01' 50.635" W
Salinity 22 psu, temperature 17°C

Commercial marina for the Port of Peninsula. Wooden floats supported by uncoated (blue) styrofoam, with creosoted wood pilings. Small boat harbor surrounded by commercial oyster-processing facilities. Oily sheen on water surface throughout the marina. Enormous mounds of oyster shells along shoreline.

Floats characterized by Enteromorpha at the waterline, overlying dense cover consisting mostly of strandy diatom scuzz and Obelia hydroids, and mixed other-invertebrate community including abundant yellow sponge, some Microciona sponge, quite a bit of Botrylloides violaceus and less Botryllus schlosseri, and lots of polynoid polychaetes. Pilings dominated by barnacles, with oysters beginning at the mid intertidal level.


23. Omeara Point mudflat, Willapa Bay 9:45-11:00 am, 22 May 2000
46° 24' 10.914" N; 123° 57' 12.399" W
Salinity 20 psu, temperature 18°C

Mudflat east of Omeara Point, protected, low angle, flat, high mud and clay content. In one area, we sampled two drift logs on a raised oyster mound, with heavily silted living oysters, about 30 by 20 feet in area rising above mudflat.

On mudflat, medium density of Zostera japonica, abundant Ilyanassa obsoleta, (average 50/square meter), sparse oysters, abundant Crangon, Grandidierella, Notomastus,Nippoleucon, and cumaceans. Abundant flies. On oyster mound, composed of living Crassostrea gigas, many Neotrapezium in and under oysters and in rotting wood (approximately 50/square meter in one high-density area). Diadumene lineata, Fucus on drift logs, Mya arenaria, Crangon, Nippoleucon, Venerupis. Limnoria and Bankia boring into dead tree.


24. Round Island, Willapa Bay 11:20-11:50 am, 22 May 2000
46° 23' 42.536" N; 123° 57' 32.749" W
No salinity or temperature readings available (no water at low-tide)

Mid-to-low intertidal mudflat. Mid-to-high intertidal angular cobble and pebble veneer on sand/mud matrix. Upper intertidal marsh on cobble, pebble, sand. Thick layer of Crassostrea gigas providing substrate throughout mid-low intertidal.

Low intertidal thick Crassostrea band, medium density Zostera japonica on mudflat with Ilyanassa and Z. marina in swales. In cobble/mixed coarse substrate, abundance isopods (including in oyster clumps), Neotrapezium, Venuperis in high densities, few barnacles and little-to-no Fucus. Glaux, Jaumea, and Potentilla in marsh.


25. Bear River, Willapa Bay 12:00-12:30 pm, 22 May 2000
46° 22' 11.559" N; 123° 57' 04.895" W
Salinity 1 psu, temperature 13°C

Bend in the Bear River next to Highway 101, near saltmarsh above river channel. Sampled old pilings in intertidal mudflat.

Barnacles, algae and Cordylophora caspia on old pilings.


26. Shoalwater Bay, Willapa Bay 1:00-1:15 pm, 22 May 2000
46° 23' 04.358" N; 123° 58' 29.670" W
(no water accessible for salinity and temperature readings)

Extensive mudflat with pooling water at the southernmost extent of the bay. We sampled on the mudflat, not in the marsh.

In the high intertidal, dense Spartina spreading onto the mudflat. On the mudflat, Spartina
seedlings, high density Zostera japonica, green algae and the snail Ilyanassa obsoleta. Many infaunal holes.


27. Long Island south, Willapa Bay 1:20-1:45 pm, 22 May 2000
46° 24' 17.338" N; 123° 57' 51.365" W
Salinity 16 psu, temperature 21°C

Muddy sand flat off the southwest tip of Long Island, with a higher energy shore with open fetch
to NW and W. We sampled along the main channel.

Zostera japonica and Z. marina in channels, Ilyanassa obsoleta abundant, some green algae,
many Sacoglossus castings and infaunal holes.


28. Leadbetter Point sandy beach, Willapa Bay 12:30-1:00pm , 23 May 2000
_-1/2 mile north of 46° 36' 21.345" N; 124° 02' 35.516" W
(no salinity and temperature readings)

Sampled sandy beach inside north end of Long Beach Peninsula near mouth of Willapa Bay estuary for Nuttallia obscurata, but did not find it.

This site is maintained by C. E. Mills; photographs should not be used without permission.
** This page was established May 2000; last updated 29 October 2001 **

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