Habitat Mapping Effort at the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Current Status and Future Needs
Steven S. Intelmann
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA
With elevating interest to establish conservation efforts for groundfish stocks and continued scrutiny over the value of marine protected areas along the west coast, the importance of enhancing our knowledge of seabed characteristics through mapping activities is becoming increasingly more important, especially in a timely manner. Shortly after the inception of the Seabed Mapping Initiative instituted with the US Geological Survey (USGS), the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) assembled a panel of habitat mapping experts. They determined that the status of existing data sets and future data acquisition needs varied widely among the individual sanctuaries and that more detailed site assessments were needed to better prioritize mapping efforts and outline an overall joint strategy.
To assist with that specific effort and provide pertinent information for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary's (OCNMS) Management Plan Review, this report summarizes the mapping efforts that have taken place at the site to date; calculates a timeframe for completion of baseline mapping efforts when operating under current data acquisition limitations; describes an optimized survey strategy to dramatically reduce the required time to complete baseline surveying; and provides estimates for the needed vessel sea-days (DAS) to accomplish baseline survey completion within a 2, 5 and 10 year timeframe.
Keywords: Benthic, habitat mapping, side scan sonar, multibeam echosounder, multibeam side scan sonar, interferometric side scan and bathymetry, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, essential fish habitat