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Puget Sound Bird Observatory Supports the Design and implementation of Avian Monitoring at the Willowmoor Floodplain Restoration Project for Eastside Audubon

Puget Sound Bird Observatory (PSBO) is providing design and implementation support of an avian monitoring plan to be conducted by Eastside Audubon volunteers. Located in Marymoor Park near the outlet of Lake Sammamish, the Willowmoor Floodplain Restoration (Willowmoor) project proposes to reconfigure the Sammamish River Transition Zone (TZ) and adjacent undeveloped King County (County) property to address a number of flood control and habitat issues. Included among the key goals for the project is to “enhance habitat conditions in the river channel, floodplain, buffers, associated tributaries and adjacent wetlands for ESA-listed Chinook, steelhead, and other fish and wildlife species.”

By systematically monitoring birds prior to construction and post construction both Eastside Audubon and County planners will have the data needed to assess project impacts to birds. 

PSBO in collaboration with Eastside Audubon has identified the following goals and objectives for this project:

  • Provide comprehensive avian monitoring using variable circle plot surveys for the assessment of site-specific effects on birds at the Willowmoor Floodplain Restoration Project site both prior to and post construction activities.

  • Provide training to Eastside Audubon Society volunteers and others as needed to specifically provide accurate and scientifically robust data for this site.

  • Provide recommendations as requested on general avian habitat enhancements or avian guild requirements for promoting vibrant avian presence.

  • When possible, help elevate the discussion about the value of restoration treatments for birds and wildlife beyond ESA listed species.

Variable circle plot (VCP) surveys will be used to determine diversity and densities of songbirds, waterfowl and wetland species. Surveys will be conducted quarterly to coincide with typical changes in bird populations including windows for migration, breeding and wintering residents (3 replicate surveys in March, May, September and November). Surveys will take place on the same day and at the same time across the site.

Actual surveys are ten (10) minutes in which all birds seen or heard within 150-meters are recorded. The actual survey period is sufficient to compare/contrast findings against other landscape scale efforts, i.e. as the 3-minute Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data.

Avian monitoring surveys help us understand species population trends, determine associations between birds and their habitat and may provide a general index of ecological health. Avian monitoring data can help predict bird population response to habitat manipulations which can be of high value to land managers.

Puget Sound Bird Observatory will support Eastside Audubon with data management, analysis and final reporting. Once summarized, bird survey data can be used for a variety of analyses. Examples include:

  • Change in bird composition over time, season, and/or as a result of project impacts

  • Spatial distribution of birds throughout the study site and in relation to vegetation and hydrological conditions.

  • Differences in habitat usage by guild, season, and/or study site.

Willowmoor Avian Monitoring Design

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