Forage Fish Surveys Conducted on GPC Preserves

In 2023, Great Peninsula Conservancy began a partnership with the Nisqually Reach Nature Center to conduct Forage Fish Surveys on several GPC preserves on the Key Peninsula. Terence Lee, Science Director at Nisqually Reach manages this community science effort in the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve and wanted to expand to a few GPC preserves that held high quality habitat. Many thanks to KGI Watershed Council for their support of this project through the Lu Winsor Environmental Grant Fund.

Forage fish are small, schooling fish like surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) that breed on our shorelines. They are vital sources of food for a wide variety of marine mammals, birds, and fish, including Pacific salmon species. Beach surveys sample for forage fish eggs and are conducted to help understand where these species are breeding and assess their population health, which informs overall ecosystem health.

GPC’s Community Engagement Manager Claire Voris began engaging GPC volunteers in helping conduct these surveys for the 2023/2024 season – stay tuned for survey results later this year. For now, enjoy some photos of the action below and check out the training video GPC created for future volunteers!