Bainbridge Island Stream Type Assessment
Where are the streams on Bainbridge Island and what
fish can be found in them? What about
these streams make them so special, or what efforts need to take place to help
them regain their full capacity to thrive as healthy natural systems? In an effort to help answer these questions,
and to guide our protection and restoration efforts with landowners and others,
the Land Trust has taken the lead and worked in partnership with others to
implement two stream focused projects on Bainbridge Island.
A new map of
Bainbridge Island streams and our fish resources is now available online HERE!
In 2014, in partnership with the Land Trust, Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) conducted a stream type assessment (inventory) of the island's
watersheds as part of a regional effort to more accurately assess and identify
fish bearing streams and their habitat.
For the Land Trust, understanding where these valuable natural resources
are on the island is an important tool needed to guide strategic restoration
and protection efforts in cooperation with landowners and other partners. The effort was funded by the state Salmon
Recovery Funding Board, in recognition of the importance of protecting or
restoring these fish resources.
Watertyping (stream typing) classification was
originally developed for forest practices and then was subsequently adopted by
most local governments to identify and protect critical areas. Most streams
were not "typed" based on physical features of the stream or on-site inspection,
but instead from a coarse statewide remote mapping process. The result has been that many streams were
incorrectly classified (fish or non-fish bearing), mismapped, or were not on
the maps at all.
Beginning February 2014, WFC and the Land Trust sent
over 1025 postcards to Island landowners adjacent or in close proximity to
streams (as mapped in the past) asking for permission for a survey team to
enter properties to inventory the stream - real boots on the ground to
physically document the features of our streams and to see who was living in
those streams. While 520 landowners did
not respond, we received permission from over 340 landowners (thank you!).
Water Type Assessments and Interactive Maps
Wild Fish Conservancy's field biologist Aaron Jorgenson led
stream-typing efforts on Bainbridge Island with the assistance of Molly Esteve,
2013-2014 BILT AmeriCorps member and Deb Rudnick, BILT board member and BI
Watershed Council Chair. From March to June, 2014 we successfully:
The result of all these efforts is displayed on easy to view
maps on Wild Fish Conservancy's website.
- Collected over
720 GPS points
- Took over 2,500
approximately 47 stream miles
- Inventoried over
300 in-stream structures (such as culverts and diversion dams)
- Caught and
released over 100 fish, including Coho, Chum, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow
Trout, Stickleback and Sculpin.
You can navigate the map to view typed streams
in Kitsap County, including Bainbridge Island. For more information on specific
typed streams, simply click on the reach you'd like to know more about. Click
on photos on the left hand side for specific information on observed fish
barriers and other stream features.
The chart below shows the original number of Island
stream miles as mapped using the old technique (WA Dept. of Natural Resources
Maps), and the results from the 2014 WFC survey.
||Department of Natural
|Wild Fish Conservancy
| Stream Miles
| Fish-Bearing Stream Miles
| Non-Fish Stream Miles
Why Stream Typing?In 1975, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
developed the process of water typing, classifying streams into one of five types
depending on their physical, biological, and human-use characteristics.
Fish-bearing stream reaches are classified as Type 1, 2, or 3 according to fish
abundance and physical characteristics of the stream channel; Type-4 and Type-5
streams are considered non fish-bearing.
Accurate water typing is essential to protecting fish and their habitats
because Type classification guides the proximity of allowable human activity to
streams and other surface water. Riparian buffer zones required on Type-2
streams, for example, are broader than those required on Type-4 streams.
In 1997, WDNR revised its criteria for classifying streams as fish-bearing
and upgraded protections for waters identified as non fish-bearing. Current DNR
watertype maps many times under-represent the upstream extent of fish and fish
habitat, and many streams are mapped incorrectly or not at all, and therefore streams
may not receive adequate protection from water quality degradation associated
with adjacent land use practices.
Under its Habitat Lost & Found program, Wild Fish
Conservancy has, since 1994, been performing field surveys on streams
throughout Washington. Visit their website to learn
more about their organization.