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Center for Spatial Information and Research

Shoreline Habitat Characterization and Analysis for the Moses Lake Project

The impetus of this project is to assist the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Moses Lake Project in restoring, improving, and maintaining the ecological diversity and quality, and beneficial uses of the fish resources of Moses Lake, Washington. Shoreline development and water level fluctuations have altered the spawning and rearing habitat for fishes in Moses Lake. The combination of attributes, such as providing food, shelter, and reproductive sites for other organisms, and the influence on water quality, suggest that natural shorelines provide many essential functions for Moses Lake. The loss of littoral habitat has been identified as one of the potential causative or contributing factors to the low abundance of panfishes.

We assisted the Moses Lake Project being conducted by the WDFW by completing the following objectives:

1) Ecological shoreline classification: Working in conjunction with WDFW biologists, the Moses Lake shoreline was classified into habitat/ecosystem types, using a combination of aerial photo interpretation, field observations, and reach-level descriptive data previously collected through the Moses Lake Project. This descriptive information included predominant upland and aquatic vegetation types, general substrate types, and bulkhead locations.

2) Quantification of littoral habitat losses: Using a combination of GIS and methods developed by the Geo-ecology Research Group (GRG) to quantify wetland losses (Gabriel and Bodensteiner 2002), the annual loss of littoral habitat through 1.5 m lake level drawdowns were quantified for each shoreline habitat type from digital aerial photographs collected by WDFW contractors.

3) Development and ecological characterization of shoreline habitat reference sites: Reference sites were established for each shoreline habitat type, each sampled to characterize the aquatic vegetation, substrate, and fish found at each habitat type.

4) Moses Lake habitat map: A GIS database and associated maps were created for Moses Lake, including the shoreline habitat designations, reference sites, and the relative losses of littoral habitat.

Funding Sources:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Amount: $14,300.
Dates of Project: 05/03-12/03
Summer Students Funded: 2

Finished Reports:

Gabriel, A.O. and L. Jordan. 2004. Shoreline Habitat Characterization and Analysis for the Moses Lake Project. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Research Contract Report.Geo-ecology Research Group Research Report 9. Ellensburg: Central Washington University. 65 pp.