Date of Graduation

Spring 5-22-2015

Document Type

Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Environmental Management

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Jennings

Abstract

This research addresses the effective restoration of Olympia oyster populations in Tomales Bay, Marin County, California. Chapter 2 provides background information on the Tomales Bay estuary, regional history, and ecology of the Olympia oyster. Following this background discussion, each of the three aforementioned degraders of Olympia oyster populations in Tomales Bay is presented: ocean acidification (Chapter 3), sedimentation (Chapter 4), and invasive species (Chapter 5). Each of these issues creates numerous barriers that require the attention of resource protection managers. Chapter 6 presents overall Research Conclusions and Chapter 7 identifies management recommendations to effectively begin the restoration of the Olympia oyster in Tomales Bay.

The Olympia oysters of Tomales Bay endured degradation and limitation due to centuries of human activities. Therefore, it is the responsibility of humans to address and manage the degrading factors. As a federally protected estuary, Tomales Bay enjoys certain protections and restrictions against environmentally harmful activities, but violators like ocean acidification, sedimentation, and invasive species cannot be fined or cited. The only solution to their detrimental impacts is for the National Marine Sanctuary Program, its partners and other resource conservation managers to target them at their sources.

The Olympia oyster is a native foundation species whose presence improves the water quality and biodiversity of the entire ecosystem. Therefore, Olympia oyster restoration requires immediate consideration, and this document provides those first needed steps towards restoration.