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Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Project final report: Monitoring for evaluation of recovery and restoration of injured nearshore resources

February 4, 2015

In 2012, we completed three consecutive years of full field sampling in WPWS for EVOS Restoration Project 10100750. Nearshore monitoring was conducted in collaboration with the NPS SWAN I&M program and, beginning in 2012, as part of the EVOSTC GWA program. Data collection was done in accordance with standard operating procedures set forth to monitor marine water chemistry and quality, marine intertidal invertebrates, kelps and seagrasses, marine birds, black oystercatchers, and sea otters. Summer sampling in 2012 represented the fourth year of sampling in WPWS (an initial year of sampling was done in WPWS in 2007; EVOS Restoration Project 070750). Based on our monitoring of nearshore species in WPWS, and comparisons of data from WPWS and other areas within the Gulf of Alaska, we have no evidence of continued injury to biological resources at the spatial scales we are monitoring. A key finding is that recovery of the sea otter population is no longer constrained by exposure to lingering oil; this is consistent with related EVOSTC studies on harlequin ducks (Restoration Project 12120114-Q). We anticipate continued annual nearshore monitoring in WPWS and at KATM and KEFJ under GWA, with data summaries and analyses including all three areas to provide a larger spatial and temporal context to the understanding of processes and patterns in nearshore ecosystems of the GOA which were impacted by the EVOS of 1989.