After a century of diking off tidal flow, the Brown Farm Dike was removed to inundate 308 ha of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) on 11 November 2009. Along with 57 ha wetlands restored by the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Nisqually Delta represents the largest tidal marsh restoration project in the Pacific Northwest to assist in recovery of Puget Sound salmon and wildlife populations. Over the past decade, the Refuge and close partners, including the Tribe and Ducks Unlimited, have restored more than 35 km of the historic tidal slough systems and re-connected historic floodplains to Puget Sound, increasing potential salt marsh habitat in the southern reach of Puget Sound by 50%. Estuarine restoration of this magnitude and the potential contribution to restoration science is unprecedented in Puget Sound. Because the mosaic of estuarine habitats, this large-scale restoration is expected to result in a considerable increase in regional ecological functions and services, representing one of the most significant advances to date towards the recovery of Puget Sound. The US Geological Survey is the lead science agency providing science support to document habitat development and ecosystem function with large-scale restoration. A collaborative science team including USGS, the Nisqually Tribe and the Refuge are working together to monitor the Nisqually estuary restoration project.
To learn more about scientific monitoring of the delta restoration, visit the Nisqually Delta Restoration Project.
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The reclusive American Bittern is a master of disguise. When it feels threatened, it stretches its neck and all but disappears among the reeds.