Impacts to Dungeness Crab from the Southwest Washington Littoral Drift Restoration Project

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The Benson Beach littoral drift restoration project is a demonstration project that will replenish sand on Benson Beach, the public beach north of the North Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River (MCR), using material dredged from the river during normal maintenance dredging of the navigational channel. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposal involves pumping the material from a sump area on the south side of the jetty to Benson Beach using a cutter suction dredge, also known as a pipeline dredge. If this one-time demonstration project proves feasible and successful, up to a million cubic yards ... continued below

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Williams, Greg D.; Kohn, Nancy P.; Pearson, Walter H. & Skalski, J R. November 9, 2005.

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The Benson Beach littoral drift restoration project is a demonstration project that will replenish sand on Benson Beach, the public beach north of the North Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River (MCR), using material dredged from the river during normal maintenance dredging of the navigational channel. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposal involves pumping the material from a sump area on the south side of the jetty to Benson Beach using a cutter suction dredge, also known as a pipeline dredge. If this one-time demonstration project proves feasible and successful, up to a million cubic yards of sediment could be used to replenish the outer coast littoral drift system in successive years by the same process. The primary goal of this study was to assess the potential risk of impacts to Dungeness crab from the proposed Benson Beach littoral drift restoration process of using the cutter suction dredge to move sediment from the proposed sump area on one side of the North Jetty to the beach on the other side of the jetty. Because there are no direct measurements of crab entrainment by pipeline dredge operating outside of the lower Columbia River navigation channel, dredge impacts for the proposed demonstration project were estimated using a modification of the dredge impact model (DIM) of Armstrong et al. (1987). The model estimates adult equivalent loss (AEL) of crabs using crab population density from trawl surveys, dredge project information (gear type, season, location, volume), and an entrainment function relating crab population density to entrainment by the dredge. The input used in applying the DIM to the Benson Beach littoral drift restoration included the specific dredging scenario provided by the Corps, existing data on crab density in previously proposed sump areas, and a series of entrainment functions. A total of fourteen scenarios were modeled and the outcomes compared with six reference scenarios intended to represent realistic to worst cases. Dungeness crab entrainment and subsequent loss of recruitment to adult age classes and the crab fishery estimated for the Benson Beach littoral drift restoration project varied widely (over three orders of magnitude) because of the range of assumptions about initial crab density, dredging scenarios, and entrainment functions. Although the comparison to reference scenarios helps put the results in perspective, losses to the crab fishery could still span two orders of magnitude. This uncertainty can only be assessed by direct measurements of crab entrainment during the demonstration project if crab losses are to be more accurately estimated for the demonstration, which is recommended in order to evaluate cumulative crab losses from successive replenishment efforts.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-15385
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/889090 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 889090
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884913

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  • November 9, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 2:23 p.m.

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Williams, Greg D.; Kohn, Nancy P.; Pearson, Walter H. & Skalski, J R. Impacts to Dungeness Crab from the Southwest Washington Littoral Drift Restoration Project, report, November 9, 2005; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884913/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.