PMEP Nursery Assessment




The PMEP Nursery Assessment will help West Coast communities and resource managers:

  • Better understand the role of estuaries in sustaining native species of fish and shellfish, including those most important to people;
  • Identify nursery habitat for fish and shellfish in estuaries, and inform restoration priorities;
  • Identify and evaluate key threats to fish habitat in estuaries; and
  • Demonstrate how conserving and restoring juvenile fish habitat in estuaries contributes to the overall ecological health and economic sustainability of commercial and recreational fisheries.

The approach:

  • Update wetland delineation and habitat types in West Coast estuaries, and classify systems consistent with the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS).
  • Advance understanding of the nursery requirements of 15 fish and shellfish species representative of different assemblages across the West Coast:
    • Dungeness crab (Cancer magister)
    • Bay shrimp (Crangon franciscorum)
    • Leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata)
    • Bat ray (Myliobatis californica)
    • Green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris)
    • Steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
    • Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)
    • Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
    • California halibut (Paralichthys californicus)
    • English sole (Parophrys vetulus)
    • Starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus)
    • Brown rockfish (Sebastes auriculatus)
    • Staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus)
    • Shiner perch (Cymatogaster aggregata)
    • Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi)
  • Review the current state of science concerning nursery functions of West Coast estuaries.
  • Describe juvenile fish habitat use of estuaries in a way that helps inform and prioritize restoration and protection.
  • Complement other fish assessments: PMEP will assure that our efforts are compatible with, support, and add value to other West Coast assessments that are being done:
  • The National Fish Habitat Partnership’s National Estuary Assessment—assessing threats to habitats of recreationally and commercially important fish stocks in all aquatic systems.
  • The National Marine Fisheries Service’s nearshore forage fish assessment—focusing on habitat-related changes over time in distribution and abundance of species of forage fish inhabiting estuary and nearshore habitats.