PORT ANGELES — Interns with the Coastal Watershed Institute/Peninsula College were awarded an honorable mention at the 2018 Salish Sea Ecosystem conference in Seattle for their poster that provided an overview of the Elwha nearshore after the changes created by the demolition of the river’s dams.
“Elwha River restoration: evolution of habitats and nearshore ecosystems during large-scale dam removal project” — created by Breyanna Waldsmith, Rylee Phillips, David Harvey, Marissa Christopher, Tony Thompson and Seren Weber — won the award last month.
The 30th anniversary of the conference, which regularly draws more than 1,000 attendees, had the theme Ecosystem Recovery in an International Transboundary System. That allowed the students’ work an international venue, said Anne Shaffer, director of the Coastal Watershed Institute.
“The nearshore is a critical component of our marine systems that often suffers from poor management proscriptions because managers don’t have an in-depth understanding of nearshore ecosystem processes and functions,” Shaffer said.
”Our mission is to change this by educating the next generation of scientists and managers on how to understand, protect, and promote nearshore systems.”
The students are learning the fundamentals of nearshore through the Elwha lens in their two-year internships, Shaffer said.
They have been integrated into ongoing long-term nearshore conservation and restoration focused community engagement and science, she added.
The Peninsula College students are already moving to their next career phases, Shaffer said.
Waldsmith will graduate from Western Washington University in June. Christopher has just been accepted to University of California- Santa Barbara and will begin there in the fall.
Weber is transferring into an astrobiology track in the fall. Schools that she is considering include University of Hawaii and University of Washington.
Phillips has been accepted (with distinction) to Western Washington University, and will transfer at the end of summer. Two of the newest interns, Harvey and Thompson, will move into the lead intern positions in the fall.
For more information on the Coastal Watershed Institute, see www.coastal watershedinstitute.org.