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Muddy boots and drip-drying dive gear are the norm in spring and summer here at PSRF.  We have been busy producing and outplanting native oysters and abalone, tracking critical habitats and species such as bull kelp and Dungeness crab, and getting creative with seaweed and cockles. In sum, we are charging forward on our diverse portfolio of projects to directly benefit marine habitats and species in this jewel of a place that is Puget Sound. As always, thank you for your involvement in and support of our work!
A Joyful (and Delicious) Event Returns
Join us at Oyster New Year at Elliott's Oyster House, November 5th, 2022 from 4-8pm. Learn more, and snap up tickets before they sell out!
Blazing past a notable milestone
Twenty-one million, give or take a few. As of April, that's the total number of Olympia oysters produced since 2014 at the Kenneth K. Chew Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration (Chew Center) that PSRF operates at NOAA's Manchester Research Station. We careened past the 20 million mark with this year’s production of native oysters for restoration projects in north Puget Sound and Port Gamble Bay.

Nearly 5 million small Olympia oysters ("spat"), settled thickly on Pacific oyster shell, went to Samish Bay (500 bags of spat-on-shell), the Tulalip Tribes (100 bags), and the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe (100 bags). We had the highest density of spat-on-shell that we've ever recorded - an incredible 354 Olympia oysters on one Pacific oyster shell. Check out the image above to attempt your own count! 

We also produced another one million single oysters for outplant in north Puget Sound as part of The Nature Conservancy's Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) program. Nearly all of these singles have been delivered to a FLUPSY - or Floating Upweller System - in Skagit Bay, where they will continue to grow until ready for outplant. A few thousand remain at the Chew Center, where they are hungrily feeding, working to get up to outplant size. Half of the singles will go to the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community's shellfish farm - Swinomish Shellfish Company. There, they will be grown for 2-3 years until they reach harvestable size, along the way contributing larvae to Similk Bay to kickstart population rebuilding. The remainder will go to other growers in Samish and Skagit Bays, also to be used for restorative aquaculture.

Thanks to various funders who have catalyzed this important work, including the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Taylor Shellfish Farms. Also, a big thanks to our broodstock groups from Fidalgo and Port Gamble Bays, who have been returned back to the wild after the several month visit to the Chew Center. 
The great abalone migration
PSRF, alongside partners from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Seattle Aquarium, and Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC), hustled another group of hatchery-reared abalone to restoration sites in the San Juan Islands. We are forever grateful to lasting partnerships that make our abalone program both successful and enjoyable! This year, we placed tiny green dots on the shells of 4,000+ two-year old abalone, to distinguish them as a cohort during post-out plant surveys. Tagging wet, always-moving, dime-sized abalone is definitely a skill, the results of which are on display in the image above. All told, 7,300 one- and two-year old abalone were outplanted across eight restoration sites (including six new sites), representing a whopping 41 genetically distinct families. This year represents a unique opportunity for the abalone nursery. Almost all abalone produced to date are either in the wild or at our two satellite facilities (PTMSC and Seattle Aquarium). With less than a hundred remaining at the Chew Center, PSRF staff are busy trying to fill all the newly empty tanks with larval abalone produced during our spawning season this summer. Wish us (and the broodstock abalone) luck for a successful spawning season!
Macro-sized work for our saltwater forests  
Our kelp program continues to grow - as fast as bull kelp grows during summer.

In partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, we launched a multi-year, comprehensive kelp forest monitoring initiative to substantially expand underwater kelp monitoring in Puget Sound. The program, called the Eyes on Kelp Initiative, will put eyes, both human and electronic, in the water to monitor kelp forests and thereby support conservation and recovery actions. The project team, which also includes Reef Check Foundation, and The Bay Foundation and Marauder Robotics, is expanding the deployment of underwater kelp monitoring sites, enlisting and training partners and divers in standardized survey protocols, and developing and deploying new technology to provide real time sensor and video data. This exciting project is front and center for us, and we will be sharing out progress over the next three years. 
Meanwhile, at our kelp restoration site, this year's replanted kelp forest is the most resplendent yet! Watch the short video above to see bull kelp growing abundantly from seeded lines outplanted in March 2022. Our bull kelp enhancement site is at Doe-Kag-Wats/Point Jefferson in central Puget Sound. The site was once home to a rich kelp forest, that disappeared in the 1990s. This year marks the third year that we've been able to grow our kelp from seafloor to surface. We've honed our practices and this year's kelp curtain is the best so far. This in-water development of restoration practices is critical work, to ensure we have tools at the ready for reforesting our marine waters, as needed. 
Last but most certainly not least, we thoroughly enjoyed working with the team from PBS on "Kelp: Hidden Treasure of the Salish Sea" - an episode of their series, Changing Seas. We hope you enjoy this beautifully filmed and told tale of kelp!
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
In the last newsletter, we introduced the Pacific Northwest Crab Research Group (PCRG) as PSRF's newest addition to our program portfolio. April marked the beginning of PCRG's 4th season of monitoring larval Dungeness crab throughout the Salish Sea. Through spring and summer, across 18 sites in Washington and 22 sites in British Columbia, PCRG participants deployed light traps overnight on a weekly basis off of docks and piers to attract and capture Dungeness crab larvae (pictured above).  By counting the number of larval crab that show up in light traps each week, we can learn when and where Dungeness crab larval pulses happen, and what the relative abundance of larvae is at sites across the Salish Sea. Participants have also been busy collecting larval samples for a new genetics research project. Led by Dr. Jay Dimond (WWU, former PSRF post-doc), the team will be working for the next two years to characterize the genetic population structure of Dungeness crab to better inform its management (funded by NOAA's Saltonstall-Kennedy Program). Learn more about the light traps and larval crab monitoring here.
PCRG also recently hosted its first Crabber and Scientist Exchange (CASE). Forty members of the local commercial crabbing and research community came together for an evening to discuss what is and isn't known about Dungeness crab to help guide future research. It's essential that PCRG research addresses questions that are important and relevant to a diverse set of parties - including the crab fleet. To learn more about current research, check out the PCRG research guide on the PCRG Resources page. Thank you to the NOAA/Oregon Sea Grant Scientists and Fishermen Exchange for providing the inspiration for CASE!
New solutions for not-so-new conundrums

The unglamorous side of shellfish farming may be working the night tides, but let’s not forget the burdensome task of removing seaweed that builds up on shellfish gear during the summer months or picking out rogue cockle clams that naturally set in geoduck tubes. With generous funding from NOAA’s Saltonstall-Kennedy Program and The Builders Initiative, PSRF is excited to be leading a new two-year pilot project to develop experimental removal systems and market pathways for excess seaweed and cockles that accumulate on and in shellfish gear at participating shellfish farms. While solving a here-and-now problem for growers, the project explores recycling seaweed into sustainable pathways and the potential for renewing sea-to-land nutrient flows in response to actions identified by the Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) to help mitigate ocean acidification. Geoduck tubes present an interesting new opportunity for cockle conservation and increased access for Tribes to a First food. The team has been busy monitoring seaweed and cockle abundance at our participating shellfish farms, and successfully harvesting seaweed for use as a sustainable soil additive. Huge thanks to our amazing (and fun) partner farms - Chuckanut Shellfish, Calm Cove Oyster Company, and Baywater Shellfish. 

Curious to learn more? download our two-page project description here!
So many wonderful new faces!

Welcome to these four powerhouse thinkers and doers! Jessi, Mackenzie, Malise and Kathy have been bringing a vast and varied set of skills to PSRF, adding much appreciated oomph across the organization.  Get to know them a bit more on the Our Team page on our website.

Jessi Florendo joined PSRF as Habitat Team Program Coordinator in April. They recently earned a Masters of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington's (UW) School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, researching equitable representations of migrants and immigrant communities in ocean governance. 
Mackenzie Weers joined PSRF, also in April, as the 2022 Veterans Conservation Corps intern, providing core support at the Chew Center. She is currently working on her Environmental Science degree from the UW, prior to which she spent several years as an active-duty member of the United States Coast Guard. 
Malise Yun came on the PSRF scene in May 2022 as our pinto abalone technician at the Chew Center. She graduated from the UW with a BS in Biology (focus on Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation) and a BA in Anthropology. She spent two quarters at Friday Harbor Labs where she became invested in hands-on restoration and marine conservation. 
Kathy Burnham joined PSRF in June 2022 as a seasonal dive and field technician with the habitat team. She graduated in 2017 with a BS in Marine Science from the University of Maine, and is soaking up all she can about marine restoration before starting her PhD project on mussel reef restoration at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. 
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