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Top 10 principles for designing healthy coastal ecosystems like the Salish Sea

January 1, 2008

Like other coastal zones around the world, the inland sea ecosystem of Washington (USA) and British Columbia (Canada), an area known as the Salish Sea, is changing under pressure from a growing human population, conversion of native forest and shoreline habitat to urban development, toxic contamination of sediments and species, and overharvest of resources. While billions of dollars have been spent trying to restore other coastal ecosystems around the world, there still is no successful model for restoring estuarine or marine ecosystems like the Salish Sea. Despite the lack of a guiding model, major ecological principles do exist that should be applied as people work to design the Salish Sea and other large marine ecosystems for the future. We suggest that the following 10 ecological principles serve as a foundation for educating the public and for designing a healthy Salish Sea and other coastal ecosystems for future generations: (1) Think ecosystem: political boundaries are arbitrary; (2) Account for ecosystem connectivity; (3) Understand the food web; (4) Avoid fragmentation; (5) Respect ecosystem integrity; (6) Support nature's resilience; (7) Value nature: it's money in your pocket; (8) Watch wildlife health; (9) Plan for extremes; and (10) Share the knowledge.

Publication Year 2008
Title Top 10 principles for designing healthy coastal ecosystems like the Salish Sea
DOI 10.1007/s10393-009-0209-1
Authors Joseph K. Gaydos, Leslie Dierauf, Grant Kirby, Deborah Brosnan, Kirsten Gilardi, Gary E. Davis
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title EcoHealth
Index ID 70038490
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center; U.S. Geological Survey Northwest Area