Getting close to the Hood Canal nearshore assessment

Hood Canal research begins, will last through September.

POULSBO — West Kitsap shoreline landowners could be seeing unfamiliar faces walking along their waterlines. But they needn’t worry.

Researchers are beginning a four-month assessment of Hood Canal shoreline habitats. They’ve been out and about collecting data since last week.

Two open houses were planned regarding the nearshore assessment work for the Hood Canal. The first was held on June 24 in Hansville, the second is planned for July 16 in Seabeck.

The Kitsap County Environmental Programs Division began its shore assessment campaign on the canal this month, and will continue collecting habitat data from the shoreline through September. Researchers will be walking the 66 miles from Foulweather Bluff near Hansville to the Kitsap-Mason county line. Last year, a similar study was conducted on East Kitsap’s shoreline. Stream Team Coordinator Kathlene Barnhart said information gathered on both will help to garner state and federal environmental support.

“The result of this and the assessment for East Kitsap will assist in demonstrating to state and federal programs the relative priority of sites proposed for programs to restore and maintain Kitsap’s shoreline,” she said.

Both open houses invite shoreline landowners and the interested public to learn more about the study. Barnhart said current available science will be on hand. Representatives from the county’s health district and Hood Canal Coordinating Council will be present as well.

Along with updated information on the progress of the assessment work, the open houses will offer opportunities to learn about the marine shoreline environment by providing resources to landowners on the functions, values and nature of their shoreline. They’ll also provide landowners with stewardship activities for preserving and restoring private and public marine shorelines and estuaries, the division said in a release.

Researchers will be walking the shoreline collecting data on both natural and man-made features using a GPS unit and camera. Occasionally, the use of a boat will be required. The information gathered from the field work will provide the best available science on the characteristics of the Hood Canal shoreline. Work will be done at low tide and data collected below the high tide mark.

Informational postcards have also been mailed to waterfront property owners.

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