This project will fund water quality and habitat monitoring for the Duwamish Floating Wetlands Project, using a citizen science approach. The Rose Foundation project will train citizen scientists in gathering and managing water quality and habitat data from four floating wetland “Biobarges,” deployed on the Duwamish Waterway in Seattle, Washington. Fostering pathways for citizen-led science, community participants will will evaluate how floating wetlands affect conditions for outmigrating salmon smolts in the Puget Sound, while inspiring community stewardship and education.
Floating wetlands support the hydroponic growth of native wetland vegetation, mimicking natural wetlands by improving water quality and providing aquatic habitat. Benefits include carbon sequestration; reduction of aquatic pollutants and water temperature; increased oxygen; invertebrate food chain reconnections; habitat improvement; and shoreline beautification and protection. While incorporated into the improvement of urban water quality in cities such as Baltimore and Chicago, little is known about how salmon respond to floating wetlands. To investigate their potential benefits as resting and feeding points for smolting juvenile salmon along the industrialized Duwamish outmigration corridor, four floating wetland Biobarges will be deployed and their functions measured during salmon smolting months, March – May of 2019-2020.
Generating scientific data on functional design and performance, this monitoring program will aid regional planners, stormwater managers, and restoration ecologists in optimizing floating wetland technologies throughout the Puget Sound. In addition, this project will promote environmental literacy and mobilize communities to take part in protecting local waters. This project aligns with the Rose Foundation’s philosophy that the most effective projects are often initiated at the community level and nurtured within an institutional framework.