Does the road to recovery for Puget Sound herring go through eelgrass?

I’m currently conducting my first field-based project in three years – it feels great! In collaboration with colleagues at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA Fisheries) and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), we are investigating the extent to which Pacific herring, which are declining around Puget Sound, are limited by spawning habitat. As noted in this post in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, herring spawn on nearshore vegetation, including eelgrass. Eelgrass patches are shrinking in some areas of Puget Sound, leading to questions about the links between declining herring populations and spawning habitat availability. We are estimating egg mortality rates across all spawning substrate types, in the field and in the lab, to dig deeper into this question. Stay tuned!