Proceedings of the DFO/PSAT sponsored Marine Riparian Experts Workshop, Tsawwassen, BC, February 17-18, 2004

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Through cooperation between Washington State’s Puget Sound Action Team (PSAT), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), a workshop was convened in February 2004 to address the state of scientific knowledge for managing the riparian areas of marine shorelines. By assembling a group of expert practitioners, the workshop was intended to define current knowledge and management approaches, and solicit interim management advice for these areas pending future study. Presenters summarized current knowledge about ecological attributes and processes of marine riparian (MR) areas, as well as current management guidelines for assessing development proposals relevant to the MR in Washington State, British Columbia, and Alaska. Breakout groups allowed participants to review and supplement this information, and to recommend several actions to manage and increase knowledge of marine shorelines in these jurisdictions. A biophysical classification system for marine shorelines was identified as an important priority for development; other priorities included a marine version of standardized curves produced by the Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team (FEMAT) in 1993 for freshwater riparian areas. These curves represent ecological attributes as a function of landward distance from shore and serve as guidelines for offsetting disturbance and development from shorelines. Additional priorities included improved outreach tools, and the peer-reviewed publication of marine riparian research and management perspectives.