Historically Olympia oysters, Ostrea lurida, played an important economic, ecological, and cultural role as Washington’s only native oyster. Yet due to overexploitation, loss of habitat, and other human-related factors, only ~5 % of the once-known beds remain in Puget Sound. In 2012 and 2013, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community began a small-scale Olympia oyster restoration effort in two pocket estuaries (lagoons). Our intent was to eventually establish self-sustaining populations that could act as larval sources for additional sites in northern Puget Sound. The primary goals during this pilot project phase were to quantify survival and growth of the outplanted seed by site and seeding year in order to determine if one, or both, of the lagoons could serve as an optimal location for further restoration work. Relatively high survival rates in both lagoons were qualitatively observed, although survival appeared to decline slightly with an increase in barnacle recruitment. Oysters in both lagoons grew faster than oysters in a different restoration site in northern Puget Sound and the oysters in one lagoon grew faster in the spring while oysters in the other lagoon grew faster in the summer. Finally, our length frequency data indicated that spawning and recruitment may have occurred in the lagoons during the summer of 2013. Our data suggest that both pocket estuaries are viable sites for Olympia oyster restoration. As a result, the tribe will expand research and restoration endeavors within the two lagoons; these efforts will include the development of baseline physical and biological parameter datasets that will allow us to determine the status of the restoration project and assess the need for adaptive change through time.
J.S. Barber, C.M. Greiner, and S. Grossman. 2015. Olympia oyster, Ostrea lurida, pilot project in northern Puget Sound, Washington: 2014 monitoring report. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Technical Report #SWIN-TR-2015-01. 14 pp.