Bugs as Barometers: Invertebrates Help Measure Wetland Mitigation Success
The Port sets annual environmental targets to focus on issues both big and small—sometimes, very small. Since 2008, the Port has worked with The Xerces Society, a Portland-based nonprofit dedicated to conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.
As part of a larger study being conducted by The Xerces Society, the Port has offered up Port-owned wetland mitigation sites for research on wetland invertebrates, including insects such as dragonflies, mayflies, caddis flies, and beetles. Scientists from the organization have conducted field surveys throughout the Willamette Valley as part of an effort to develop a biological assessment tool for evaluating the health and function of Pacific Northwest wetlands.
Celeste Mazzacano, Ph. D., a staff scientist with the organization, said the biological assessment tool has potential statewide. “We’ll be doing additional research to test the consistency and robustness of the indicators we’ve developed.” The project has received support from groups like the Environmental Protection Agency and Oregon Watershed Education Board.
For the Port, the tool will be a valuable resource for monitoring wetland mitigation sites and helping to determine whether mitigation efforts have improved wetland biological function. Plus, the results so far have been useful for and gratifying to Port natural resources staff. Dr. Mazzacano reported, “The Port’s Randall mitigation site was our dragonfly bonanza—the winner for dragonfly and damselfly diversity.”
Christine White, Community Affairs Manager, 503.415.6056