This report supports Washington-led marine spatial planning and responsible stewardship of natural and cultural resources by the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Washington state agencies and the sanctuary continually seek the best available science to improve management of marine uses and stewardship of resources (Etheridge et al., 2010; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2015a). This report and associated data provide new, state- and sanctuary-requested information on seabird, pinniped, and cetacean distributions. Through spatial planning, information on species distributions can help to identify high-value conservation areas, minimize adverse effects of ocean uses and mitigate impacts of coastal hazards. Correspondingly, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has already begun to use the maps of predicted relative density presented in this report to identify ecologically important areas off the Pacific Coast of Washington and apply this information to plan for offshore renewable energy development.
This is the culmination of three years of work to compile information on seabirds, pinnipeds, and cetaceans, and advance a modeling framework that can integrate data sets and develop accurate predictions of relative density for important species off the Pacific Coast of Washington. Previous reports, which evaluated existing datasets of at-sea observations (Menza et al., 2014; Kracker and Menza, 2015) and presented superseded versions of seabird models (Menza et al., 2015), provided base information for this report. In addition to the maps in this published report, all new seabird, pinniped and cetacean predictions will be made publicly available as digital geospatial data through the National Centers for Environmental Information