A Night of Elliott Bay Seawall Habitat at the Seattle Aquarium: “Aquaversity”

Did you know that biologists have seen ling cod, painted greenling, cullback rockfish, and schools of pink salmon along the Elliott Bay seawall? And did  you know there is ongoing scientific study on salmon migration along our urban waterfront? On October 8, Elliott Bay Seawall Project staff and researchers presented these and other habitat research findings to a group of Seattle Aquarium volunteers and staff as a part of the Aquarium’s “Aquaversity” program. Aquaversity, a continuing education series, is offered several times a year for the Seattle Aquarium’s full-time and volunteer staff.

The event was part of a larger Elliott Bay Seawall Project habitat education initiative, which aims to increase awareness of habitat restoration and enhancement activities that accompany the City’s plans for seawall replacement. Participating Seattle Aquarium employees and volunteers had the opportunity to expand their knowledge of local marine ecology and current research occurring outside their front door.

Presenters included Jennifer Wieland, SDOT’s Project Manager for the Elliott Bay Seawall Project, Jim Starkes, Associate Fisheries Biologist for Hart Crowser, Inc., Peter Hummel, Principal Landscape Architect for Anchor QEA, and Jeffery Cordell, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Jim, Peter, and Jeff are all members of the Seawall Project’s habitat design and habitat research team. Attendees were able to learn about the construction of a new seawall, ongoing fish studies, how light affects juvenile salmonid behavior, wall texture studies along the seawall, and the many ecosystem enhancement opportunities in the project that aim to benefit the ecosystem of Elliott Bay.

The Seawall Project team will continue to partner with the Seattle Aquarium through seawall construction to ensure that educators are equipped to answer questions about the seawall project, and potentially incorporate aspects of the project’s habitat restoration efforts into classroom programming. The first phase of seawall construction, which will replace the seawall from S. Washington Street to Virginia Street, is anticipated to begin in fall 2013.

To learn more about habitat in Elliott Bay, please visit the Elliott Bay Seawall website at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/seawall_habitat.htm.