undefinedForage fishes are small schooling fishes that form a critical link in the marine food web between zooplankton and larger fish and wildlife consumers. Status of forage fish populations can be an indicator of the health and productivity of nearshore systems. Forage fish occupy every marine and estuarine nearshore habitat in Washington, and much of the intertidal and shallow subtidal areas of the Puget Sound Basin are used by these species for spawning habitat.

In late spring 2016 Clallam MRC joined the Northwest Straits Commission's forage fish monitoring efforts. Three Clallam MRC members and the project coordinator participated in a day long training provided by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Click here for more information on the survey methods and an interactive map over forage fish spawning in Puget Sound. The picture shows surf smelt (top) and Pacific sand lance (bottom).

Pitship Point and Old Town

undefinedFriday October 21, 2016 three members from Island and Jefferson MRCs along with Lucas Hart from NWSC met Ed Bowlby, Alan Clark and Helle Andersen at Pitship Point. The goal was for the other MRC members and Lucas to give the three Clallam MRC members a refresher training in the forage fish survey methods. Helle brought all the newly purchased equipment provided by NWSC and the members of Island and Jefferson MRCs and Lucas showed how to assemble and use the equipment. One sample (for training only) was collected at the Pitship Point beach and processed at John Wayne Marina.

undefinedSince then Clallam MRC Clallam MRC has conducted monthly surveys at two sites - Pitship Point adjacent to John Wayne Marina and at a public beach near Old Town east of Dungeness River. The monthly forage fish samples are submitted to Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife for analysis. 

In April 2017 the sampling effort was expanded to include two sites on Ediz Hook. The sites were selected by the Lower Elwha Tribe in an effort to document forage fish spawning in the newly restored area along the inside of the spit.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer on the Clallam MRC forage fish team please contact Helle Andersen 417-2416 or handersen@co.clallam.wa.us.